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Money spent on free eye tests can be better used elsewhere says Minister

The health minister has defended his decision to end universal free eye tests for Manx residents.

David Anderson said the Island could no longer afford to offer universal free tests and the money saved would be better spent in other areas - such as treating sight problems among diabetes patients.

He said that policy change was based on clinical advice from the public health unit.

In the year to this March, eye tests cost the Department of Health more than £708,000 - a bill Mr Anderson said would rise by around four per cent each year.

But East Douglas MHK Brenda Cannell was not satisfied:

The minister was pressed on whether ending free tests could be a false economy, if underlying eye conditions are not picked-up at an early stage.

Mr Anderson said a large number of those seeking tests including pensioners, would be exempt.

And he said help is always available for anyone concerned about their sight:

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