HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1643W
Mr. Jenkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many old age pensioners to the Tamworth constituency have benefited from the introduction of free eye tests in each year since 1997. [188127]

Dr. Ladyman

Data for the number of sight tests by constituency or by the number or pensioners are not collected centrally. Free sight tests for patients aged 60 and over came into effect on 1 April 1999.

The total number of national health service sight tests paid for patients aged 60 and over in the Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority for the years 1999–2000 to 2003–04 are shown in the table.

Sight tests
1999–2000 105,830
2000–01 120,100
2001–02 115,940
2002–03 138,050
2003–04 139,450
Some patients aged 60 and over will be eligible for sight tests for other reasons as well, for example, on income grounds. The classification for such patients will depend on the patient and the practitioner.

Sight tests cannot be equated to the numbers of patients. Although most people do not come back for a sight test within the year, some patients suffering from medical conditions are advised to have reexaminations sooner.