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Ophthalmology: Training

Health written question – answered on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors were taken into account in deciding not to provide continuing educational training for dispensing opticians in the review of general ophthalmic services.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton The Minister of State, Department of Health

The national health service provides a contribution to the cost of continuing education and training for professions whose income derives in part from providing NHS services. Under deregulatory changes approved by Parliament in 1986, the NHS provides optical vouchers to certain eligible groups to assist in buying glasses or contact lenses, but the dispensing of glasses is carried out on a private basis. The Department considers that these arrangements work well in promoting choice and access to services and that it would be anomalous to use public funds to make continuing education and training payments to health care professionals who do not provide services under contract to the NHS.

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