06 October 2022
NHS commissioners remove barriers to accessing support for hearing loss
The NCHA has welcomed the decision by NHS commissioners in North Staffordshire to remove outdated restrictions that meant local adults faced barriers to accessing hearing aids.
The newly formed Integrated Care System (ICS) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent announced on 23 September that it would reverse the 2015 decision to restrict access to hearing aids for adults based on the threshold of hearing loss and other criteria.
The decision comes four years after independent evidence from NICE identified the benefits of early diagnosis and provision of hearing aids for all adults with hearing loss.
Harjit Sandhu, managing director at the NCHA, said: "We have worked for many years to help NHS commissioners across England avoid setting arbitrary thresholds for access to adult hearing care and treatment. Therefore, we welcome the ICS's decision. It is reassuring to see new NHS leaders aligning local policies with NICE evidence and improving access for their local populations."
He added: "Although this is a positive step forward, there is still a postcode lottery across England, with patients not always getting access to bilateral fits for hearing loss in both ears or getting the follow-up support they need and deserve. We hope that all ICSs in England will provide positive clinical leadership and start to address the postcode lottery within their region to achieve better hearing care for all."
If you know of any barriers to patients accessing quality adult hearing care services, please email [email protected].