Labour would allow high street opticians to provide outpatient appointments for eye problems if elected into Government, the party has said.
In Government, the party would seek to negotiate a deal with high street optometrists to help reduce the 619,000-strong waiting list for NHS eye care at a lower cost to the taxpayer, shadow health minister Karin Smyth said.
Speaking on behalf of shadow health secretary Wes Streeting at the Institute for Government conference, Ms Smyth said the policy would also free up hospital specialists.
She said: ‘There are 6,000 high street opticians in England equipped with a specialist staff and kit that can see patients faster. We will put them to work to beating that Tory backlog, free up hospital specialists to treat the patients in serious need – all at greater convenience to patients. As these are routine appointments it will be less expensive to the taxpayer for them to be delivered on the high street than in the hospital.’