Ophthalmic Services: Special Educational Needs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 17 May 2024.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of trends in the special schools eye care service budget on service delivery.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Special Schools Eye Care service is fully funded.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will take steps to ensure that the budget for the Special Schools Eye Care Service is not reduced so that (a) children with Special Educational Needs can receive free eye care in schools and (b) optometrists can afford to continue providing the service.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Labour, Battersea

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of cutting the special schools eye care budget on children with special educational needs.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England has committed to invest up to £12.7 million annually for the provision of sight tests and associated optical vouchers in special educational settings. This represents an approximate 87% increase compared to the current budget. This additional investment has the potential to increase coverage from 4% of special educational settings to 100%. This is a new additional budget for providing sight tests and vouchers in these settings, and so represents a recurrent increased investment in sight testing and the sight testing sector. Service delivery will continue within the proof-of-concept settings, to ensure continuity of service, whilst the required regulatory changes are laid in Parliament to underpin wider rollout during 2024/25.

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