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  Opticians losing sight of a fair deal, warns MP
 

Lorraine Whiting was shot dead by her estranged husband, Leonard Carter, during an armed siege in 1995 (photo ©BBC)
Opticians in Wales and Scotland
were consulted about changes
to their contracts - unlike their
 colleagues in England.

SOUTH NORFOLK MP Richard Bacon has written to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to ask why opticians have not been consulted over the future of ophthalmic services in England.

Mr Bacon said: “Doctors, dentists and pharmacists were consulted before their contracts were renegotiated, but the Department of Health seems reluctant to consult with England's opticians, despite promising to do so. Opticians don't deserve this kind of

treatment and must be consulted, as their colleagues in Scotland and Wales were”.

Mr Bacon added: “Primary Care Trusts are already under massive financial strain with many facing huge deficits. Faced with new priorities on smoking, MRSA, obesity and sexual health, optometry is unlikely to be an immediate priority for many Trusts. That leaves local health bosses with two unpalatable choices: driving their deficits deeper or cutting provision”.

“Currently, 96 per cent of people over the age of 55 wear glasses or contact lenses. It is ludicrous that, with an ageing population, this is not being taken more seriously. The irony is that this will inevitably lead to less choice for patients - the reverse of stated government policy”.

20 October 2005