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Charges for optical appliances

Section 128 of National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 (NHSWA 2006) provides that the Welsh Ministers may make regulations to provide for the making and recovery of charges for the supply under NHSWA 2006 of optical appliances. The amount of the charges may be determined in regulations or by or in accordance with directions given by the Welsh Ministers. Regulations or directions may vary the amount or maximum amount of charges, or provide that the charges are not payable.

Section 136(2) provides that regulations made under section 128 may provide for the sums which would otherwise by payable by a LHB (or Special Health Authority) to the service providers to be reduced by the amount of the charges authorised by the regulations in respect of those services.

Under section 129, the Welsh Ministers must provide by regulations for payments to be made by them or a LHB (or Special Health Authority) to meet, or to contribute towards, the cost of optical appliances for which a prescription has been given under NHSWA 2006 following a sight test for a child (under 16 or under 19 and in full time education), a person with insufficient resources, or other prescribed person.

he Welsh Ministers may by regulations:

• provide for themselves or a LHB (or Special Health Authority) to contribute to the cost of a sight test which they or a prescribed body accepts as having been incurred by a person whose resources exceeds his or her requirements but only by an amount calculated under the regulations,
• provide for payments to be made by the Welsh Ministers or a LHB (or Special Health Authority) to meet, or to contribute towards, any cost accepted by them as having been incurred for the replacement or repair in prescribed circumstances of optical appliances for which a prescription was given in consequence of a sight test of a child (under 16 or under 19 and in full time education), person with insufficient resources, or other prescribed person.

If the regulations provide for payments to be made by a LHB or Special Health Board, the Welsh Ministers must pay to the LHB or Special Health Board, in respect of each financial year, the sum set out under the regulations.
The National Health Service (Optical Charges and Payments) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/818) have effect in Wales as if made under sections 128 and 129 of NHSWA 2006.

Finally, section 141(1) of NHSWA 2006 provides that the Welsh Ministers may make regulations to provide that where a person fails to pay any amount recoverable from him or her for the provision of services provided, a penalty notice may be served on that person. The remainder of section 141 provides further detail on the regulations that the Welsh Ministers may make in relation to the procedure to be followed once the penalty notice has been served.

The National Health Service (Penalty Charge) (Wales) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1300) have effect as if made under section 141 of NHSWA 2006. They apply to charges for ophthalmic services and make provision for a civil penalty to be imposed where a person wrongly fails to pay an NHS charge.

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