Dáil Éireann - Volume 293 - 09 November, 1976

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Spectacles Supply.

22. Mr. Moore asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of the long delay experienced by persons seeking spectacles through the Eastern Health Board; and if he will have the situation investigated with a view to expediting this service.

Mr. R. Barry: I am aware of this problem. The situation is under constant review by the Eastern Health Board to see what improvements can be effected within the limits imposed by existing financial restraints.

Mr. Moore: I am disappointed to see that this situation is aggravated by the lack of money. Even when old people are passed for spectacles they still have a three-month wait so their eyesight must deteriorate in that period. The delivery of spectacles could be expedited if efforts were made to improve the organisation. Despite the efficiency of the Eastern Health Board staff in Dublin it is much harder for a person to get benefits from this health board than it is from other health boards. In this city there are a lot of old people.

An Ceann Comhairle: I am awaiting a question, Deputy.

Mr. Moore: Could the Parliamentary Secretary at least expedite the delivery of spectacles to old people who have been passed as requiring those spectacles? The period those old people have to wait is getting longer.

[1219] Mr. R. Barry: I agree with the Deputy that the situation is not as satisfactory as he, the House and I would like to have it but as I said in reply to the question this situation is kept under constant review.

Mr. Moore: If I put a question down in two months' time will the Parliamentary Secretary have a reply?

Mr. Brennan: Will the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that in relation to optical benefit and orthodontic treatment, as well as various other treatments applicants for which are kept on the waiting list for a long time, cases tend with delay to deteriorate or develop to the stage where it is difficult to provide a remedy or in some cases impossible?

Mr. R. Barry: I certainly agree with the Deputy that they are not improved by waiting.

Mr. C. Murphy: Could the Parliamentary Secretary tell us the exact number of people on the Eastern Health Board's waiting list? Is he aware of the great anxiety among parents of children in the 11 to 12 age group who have been told they require spectacles and who have a very long wait for them while they continue their studies?

Mr. R. Barry: I agree. With regard to the first part of the Deputy's question I have not the information because it was not sought in the question. With regard to the second part I agree entirely that there is a certain amount of frustration which the Department of Health are doing their best in the circumstances to try to alleviate.