• Kenneth Gibson MSP

SNP Government keeps NHS Eye Care Free


Despite the price of ophthalmic services increasing by 3%, the SNP Government will continue to ensure everyone can continue to access high quality eye care for free.


Scotland is the only UK nation with free universal NHS-funded eye examinations in 2006 and, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2018/19, a record 2.3 million people had their eyes examined by an optometrist under this service.


Eye tests cost £21.31 in England and Wales.


This increase will be backdated to include all General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) eye examinations, which provide both a sight test and an eye health check, undertaken from 01 April 2021.


Kenneth Gibson MSP said:


“Keeping health care free and accessible in Scotland is a flagship SNP policy, and given the rising cost of living, more important than ever.


“Eye examinations help detect eye problems and can identify signs of other significant health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease before they become more serious.


“Many community optometrists can manage the treatment of certain eye conditions and are able to prescribe treatments to patients instead of having to make a GP or hospital referral.


“Across North Ayrshire and Scotland they have been doing invaluable work: staffing Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centres during the initial phase of the pandemic, supporting the vaccine programme and the outstanding efforts made in returning to delivering pre-pandemic levels of care.”


David Quigley, Chair, Optometry Scotland said:


“We welcome the announcement of a 3% increase to GOS fees. These are significant developments which acknowledge the excellent service provided by community eyecare colleagues across Scotland.


“We have campaigned for an increase and implementation of a sustainable funding model to safeguard and enhance the future of community optometry, and thanks to a strong working relationship and ongoing constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government we are pleased to see this come to fruition.”


Scotland's national website for eye care services


ENDS