Search the Site

News and views

Stay informed

Home / News and views
News > News Article

25 August 2023

NCHA member update - 25 August


This week:

Scottish government publishes audiology review

An independent review into audiology services has found 'multiple, systemic problems within audiology in NHS Scotland', the BBC has reported.
The Scottish cabinet secretary for health and social care commissioned the Independent Review of Audiology Services in Scotland following failings in NHS Lothian that led to delays in diagnosing and treating hearing loss in children.
The review focused on governance, quality assurance and staff training and education. It looked at KPI data and feedback from service users and staff.
The report highlights issues in national oversight and responsibility, and low staff morale due to unprecedented workplace pressures and a lack of training opportunities. Current routes into audiology in NHS settings in Scotland are described as "intermittent and lacking co-ordination".
Feedback from patients and parents shows considerable variation in experiences, emphasising the need for improved communication and customer service. "It is crucial that patients and parents are listened to and believed - i.e. that hearing loss is present until proved otherwise," the report said.
The main recommendations are:

  • To reduce variation and ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality, patient-centred care across Scotland, with clear accountability
  • To build a sustainable pipeline of talent and ensure that patients are cared for by professionals with the right knowledge and specialist skills within services with effective, skilled leadership
  • To ensure a culture of continuous improvement of quality and outcomes of care across the patient journey, with external assurance of patient safety, clinical effectiveness and patient experience
  • To ensure that national structures are in place to provide strategic oversight and assurance of audiology services.

The review focused on the provision of NHS audiology services.

If you have questions about this review and would like to talk to one of our health policy experts, please email [email protected].

New HCPC proficiency standards

The HCPC's updated standards on conduct, performance and ethics take effect in September. 
They outline essential knowledge and skills required for hearing aid dispensers and clinical scientists to join and remain on the HCPC register. The council's website breaks them down by profession.

Government BSL provision 'disappointing'

The RNID said it was disappointed in the findings of a government report into its provision of British Sign Language in communications.
The report showed 11 government departments produced no BSL communications between June 2022 and April 2023. Only six reported using BSL in press conferences, social media or government websites to publicise activities or policies.  
The British Sign Language (BSL) Act 2022 recognises BSL as a language of England, Scotland and Wales. It also requires the government to report on ministerial departments' use of BSL in public communications.

World Cup goalkeeper shares hearing loss journey

The Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold has shared a video with her fans showing her having hearing aids fitted in the UK, where she plays for West Ham.
Arnold, who made three penalty saves to secure victory over France in the World Cup quarter-final, has made no secret of her difficulties in hearing. She once described her most annoying trait as "saying 'what' a lot because I can't hear properly". Her brother also wears hearing aids.
"Those closest to me know how long I've avoided this day, but here's a little glimpse of a life-changing day for me," she wrote on Instagram. She says wearing hearing aids has helped her confidence, but she does not wear them on the pitch where she finds the noise distracting.
About half of people in the UK with diagnosed hearing loss do not wear hearing aids, according to 2022 Eurotrak data. Once they do, they often report wishing they had been earlier adopters.

Other sector news

  • Demant reports 17% growth in its interim 2023 report
  • Researchers report on a treatment for ear infections that is unlikely to develop antibiotic resistance. Read more
  • NIHR ring-fences £25 million for research into long-term conditions.

Health policy news

Consultants announce further strikes

ENT consultants will join other consultants in England who intend to strike for three consecutive days in October in their campaign for increased pay.

As the longest proposed strike so far, it is likely to result in more than a million NHS appointments being cancelled.

The British Medical Association announcement came as senior doctors began a planned strike on 23 August. Further industrial action is planned for two days in September.

Government turns to independent sector to cut NHS waiting times in England

The health secretary has urged the NHS to use more independent and third-sector providers to help meet waiting list targets, the Guardian reports.

Steve Barclay encouraged using "every available resource" to provide tests and scans to ease pressure on the health service. His elective recovery taskforce also announced a further 13 new community diagnostic centres, eight of which independent sector providers will run.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said the action taken was too little, too late. He consolidated Labour's shift in policy towards supporting the use of "spare capacity" in the independent sector.


Share this page
For more information please contact:

Press enquiries

Media enquiries should be directed to [email protected] or call 020 7298 5110.

We are happy to put you in touch with our expert policy advisers who can comment on a variety of issues.

You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.