93 weeks for NHS hearing aids assessments

Patients in East Surrey have to wait 93 weeks on average to be assessed for a hearing aid, according to a local patients' group.

The East Surrey Patients' Forum (ESPF) claims that, although government recommendations suggest that patients should have their assessment within four weeks of referral from their GP, the reality is that the waiting period is significantly longer, according to Surrey Online.

There is a national shortage of qualified audiologists and demand for hearing aids is exceeding capacity throughout much of the UK, with patients having to either wait for an assessment or seek private treatment.

ESPF chairman Len Roberts told Surrey Online: "We appreciate what our hard-pressed local PCT (primary care trust) has tried to do.

"But asking people, many of whom are elderly, to wait almost two years is just not acceptable in a modern health service."

Mr Roberts added that, although waiting times vary across the country, East Surrey is not the only PCT where it is an issue.

"It is a national issue and needs energetic national action," he insisted.

The government is aware of the lack of qualified audiologists and has recently released money for the training of new staff.

However, the number of people across the country who currently have to wait longer than a year for hearing aid assessments, estimated to be around 33,000, is unlikely to be significantly reduced for the foreseeable future, let alone eradicated.

Gillian Meekings, a member of the ESPF, conceded that the local PCT had been making "serious attempts" to improve performance.

"But the plain fact is that there is no likelihood of a radical improvement in the foreseeable future in our area," she added.

Comment on this page »


Latest news

AXA PPP healthcare win at UK Customer Experience awards 2015

David Mobbs retires as CEO of Nuffield Health

King's victorious at World Transplant Games

93 weeks for NHS hearing aids assessments
Connect with us on:

This site compiles with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information