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13 May 2022

NCHA member update - 13 May

This week:

Covid updates

The NHS in England and Scotland have stepped down physical distancing requirements in healthcare settings. This leaves providers to perform risk assessments to assess if physical distancing is necessary. Northern Ireland (NI) and Wales are yet to confirm a position on physical distancing.
The NI Department of Health has updated guidance on testing and isolation for healthcare providers. Staff with symptoms of Covid-19 should take an LFD test instead of a PCR. The guidance also explains advice on routine testing and what to do if you test positive for Covid-19 or have symptoms but test negative. Read the complete guidance
AIHHP, BAA, BSA and BSHAA have updated their Covid guidance. The 9 May update refreshes hyperlinks and reiterates earlier advice on supporting remote care options and face-to-face routine care.

British Sign Language Act 2022

The British Sign Language Bill, a Private Member's Bill introduced by Rosie Cooper MP last year, has received Royal Assent.
The British Sign Language Act 2022 recognises BSL as a language of England, Wales and Scotland in its own right. It is also supported by a duty on the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to regularly report on what each relevant government department has done to promote or enable the use of British Sign Language in its communications with the public.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said: "The BSL Bill will help remove barriers faced by the D/deaf community in daily life and is a further welcome step towards to a more inclusive and accessible society."
David Buxton, chair of the British Deaf Association, said: "We are extremely pleased to see the UK Parliament finally vote to recognise British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain in law today, after 19 long years of campaigning."

Health and Care Act 2022 (England)

The Health and Care Bill has received Royal Assent, making it the Health and Care Act 2022. Although many changes in the Act are already under way, the new law confirms:

  • NHS England will be the national body overseeing the NHS, with Monitor (NHS Improvement) dissolved and having no role
  • Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will formally replace Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) over the coming year
  • Existing procurement regulations will be replaced with a new Provider Selection Regime (PSR).

For audiology, this means:

  • ICBs will be responsible for commissioning services at a local level in line with the new PSR. This should bring opportunities to commission extended eye care services at scale as ICBs cover populations of a million people or more
  • Access a map of new ICB boundaries.

The NCHA will continue to work with sector partners, policymakers and commissioners to ensure primary care audiology services in England can serve more patients in future. 

Healthy ageing guide for health and care professionals

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities has published a guide to help all health and care professionals prevent ill health and promote wellbeing as part of everyday practice.
The guide says that as part of making every contact count, all professionals should be aware of and act on "age-related visual impairment and hearing impairment, which has been identified as a risk factor for dementia". It recommends that people are signposted to relevant services and support.
Read the healthy ageing guide.

Website maintenance

Please note that the NCHA website might be offline for a few minutes between 8am and 9am tomorrow, 14 May, while servers are updated.

Other sector news

MSPs from across the political spectrum came together to back Deaf Awareness Week and call for better support for deaf children, reports the NDCS.
Barbie producer Mattel launches the first doll with a hearing aid as an inclusivity push. Read more.
Jasleen Singh, audiologist and postdoctoral fellow, asks: What if hearing aids were as easy to get as reading glasses? As part of a project looking at OTC hearing devices. Read the article.
Northwestern Medicine scientists say they have discovered a master gene to help develop cells to restore hearing. Read more.
David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) for 12 years, will step down from the charity in June 2022. Read more.







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