Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (557)

Arthur Spring

Question:

557. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Health the current processing time for community ophthalmic scheme forms; his views on whether the current practice of returning forms to the patient and not to the medical practice is practical and time efficient; if this current practice will be changed following a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30167/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The processing of optical forms is carried out by the HSE through Local Health Offices and Primary Care Units around the country. The current processing time for optical forms is approximately two working weeks. In some areas this may take longer due to resource constraints. However, every effort is made to process the forms within an appropriate time frame, which according to the agreement with the Ophthalmic representative bodies, is within one month.

There are no plans to change the practice of returning forms to the patient, which gives patients greater flexibility in choosing service providers. Although patients may originally seek the services of one optician they can decide to change providers prior to authorisation. A patient, for example, may choose the same provider for the eye examination and dispensing or choose two different providers. They may apply to their local area for authorisation for services from any ophthalmologist/optometrist/optician contracted to the HSE. The application form, once approved, can be taken to the eligible patient's selected optician/optometrist/ophthalmologist within 90 days.