The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) has been told of the proposed increases in optical voucher values in England, Wales and Scotland from 1 April 2014, while awaiting confirmation of the increase in Northern Ireland.
OFNC secretary, Richard Carswell, said: “The two per cent increase offered by the government is welcome. It does not however compensate providers for the rises in the cost of spectacles which they will have to fund whilst striving to offer a range of high quality frames and lenses to meet all prescriptions. The OFNC had asked for a reasonable increase of 3.5%. Clearly The Treasury felt unable to oblige. However the long-term undermining of voucher values for NHS patients can only be detrimental to those patients at high risk or on low incomes who require vision correction as this may deter them from seeking care.”
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Notes to Editors
The OFNC comprises the British Medical Association (BMA) and the following representatives of the Optical Confederation: the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO).