Skip to main content
Publication, Part of

General Ophthalmic Services Statistical Bulletin, Ophthalmic statistics - England, 1996-97 to 2005-06

Publication Date:
Date Range:
01 Apr 1996 to 31 Mar 2006


This bulletin presents information about the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) in England. It focuses on statistics for 2005-06 but trends over the past ten years are also presented.

Most data are presented for financial years. Those relating to workforce (section 5) and establishments (section 6) reflect the position at 31 December 2005. Tables are presented at Annex A.


  • PCTs paid for over 10 million NHS sight tests, an increase of 2 per cent on 2004-05. Of these sight tests 43 per cent were performed on patients aged 60 or over, and 21 per cent on children.
  • Optical vouchers for 3.7 million spectacles were reimbursed by PCTs, an increase of over 1 per cent on 2004-05. The simplest single vision lens prescription was almost 71 per cent of the total.
  • Provisional data indicated GOS expenditure in 2005-06 totalled 358.7 million: an estimated 55 per cent on sight tests and 44 per cent on the cost of vouchers and repairs and replacements. This represents an increase in real terms of 3.6 per cent on total expenditure compared with 2004-05. Within that total, expenditure on sight tests increased by 2.4 per cent, and expenditure on optical vouchers increased by 4 per cent. (Real costs have been calculated using the GDP deflator as at September 2006.)
  • There were nearly 8,500 ophthalmic practitioners (ophthalmic opticians (OOs)) and ophthalmic medical practitioners (OMPs)) under contract to perform NHS sight tests at December 2005, an increase of less than one percent on December 2004. Around 95 per cent were OOs.
  • There were nearly 6,000 establishments, from which ophthalmic practitioners in contract with PCTs operated at 31 December 2005. This is very similar to the number recorded in 2004.


Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:14 pm