§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many pensioners have benefited from free eye tests in Shrewsbury and Atcham since 1 May 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
Eligibility for National Health Service sight tests was extended to all those aged 60 and over from 1 April 1999. Figures for the number of over-60s who have received free eye tests in particular areas are not collected centrally.
However, there was an increase of around 40,000 in the total number of sight tests paid for by Shropshire health authority in the 18 months following April 1999 compared to the 18 months before April 1999. It is fair to assume that the majority of this increase was due to newly eligible people aged over 60 obtaining NHS sight tests.
Department of Health—General Ophthalmic Services Activity Statistics