Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne met with national charity Action on Hearing Loss on Wednesday 26 June to discuss the provision of audiology services in his constituency and across England.
Vital hearing aid services across England could be at risk because an overwhelming majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the local bodies responsible for commissioning and paying for NHS services, do not have the “bare minimum” information needed to be effective, according to new research conducted by charity Action on Hearing Loss. The research also highlights the vast disparities in hearing aid provision across England.
The report from Action on Hearing Loss, entitled Valuing Audiology: NHS Hearing Aid Services in England, was compiled using data from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests the charity sent to all 195 CCGs in England. Of those who responded in full, just 1 in 20 (5%) knew how much they are spending on audiology, how many hearing aids they are fitting, and whether patients are satisfied with what they are receiving.
The Denton and Reddish constituency is served by two CCGs – Tameside and Glossop CCG and Stockport CCG. Action on Hearing Loss estimate that around 42,500 people in the Tameside Glossop CCG area and 53,000 people in the Stockport CCG area are living with deafness or hearing loss. These figures represent almost 18% of the population in these areas.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“It was really concerning to hear what Action on Hearing Loss had to say about services in Denton and Reddish and across England.
“With nine million people across England living with some form of deafness and hearing loss, a number we know is rising with the ageing population, demand for these vital services will continue to rise.
“Now more than ever it’s essential that audiology services are able to evolve and understand their local population’s needs to continue providing high quality services.”
Dr. Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said:
“It’s encouraging to see Andrew Gwynne MP engaging with us and this vital report. If the problems identified in this report aren’t addressed, there’s a very real fear that hearing aid services will suffer and decline in availability.
“Hearing aids are a lifeline for people living with deafness and hearing loss and must be readily available and free to all that would benefit from them.”