Optician no longer offering free tests

IPSWICH Hospital's on-site optician shop is no longer offering free NHS sight tests to the public today.The opticians can now only make appointments with paying customers or people receiving treatment in the hospital's eye clinic after a national law change.

IPSWICH Hospital's on-site optician shop is no longer offering free NHS sight tests to the public today.

The opticians can now only make appointments with paying customers or people receiving treatment in the hospital's eye clinic after a national law change.

Peter Mitchell, 74, of Woodbridge Road East, said he was shocked to discover he would have to switch opticians now the new rules had come into force.

He said: “I suffer from emphysema and my breathing is very bad. I live just around the corner from the hospital so it is easy for me to go there.

“I was surprised at the change because I had been sent a letter saying I needed to get a new appointment but then when I rang up they said they didn't do them anymore.

“I will be able to find another opticians but it is a pain.”

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Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, confirmed the tests had been stopped because of the new General Ophthalmic Services Contract, which came into force last month.

It means primary care trusts have been banned from agreeing free NHS eye tests contracts with secondary care organisations, such as hospitals.

She added: “It is not just our hospital. Across the country hospitals can no longer carry out free NHS sight tests.

“We are looking at ways of getting a working partnership with a commercial optician so we can continue to provide services from our shop.

“For people who are being treated in our eye clinic there will not be a problem.”

She added that only a small number of people should be affected by the changes.

Have you struggled to get a free NHS sight test? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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