a major impact on their lives. However, many people do not seek help. Hearing loss becomes harder to manage the longer it is ignored, and is associated with poor mental health, dementia and other long-term conditions. The NHS funds the provision of hearing aids and other services to help people manage age-related hearing loss. It is estimated that of the six million people in the UK who could benefit from using hearing aids only two million have them.
Before 2012, these adult hearing services were generally provided in hospitals. Since 2012, some patients in England with age-related hearing loss have been given the chance to choose their service provider under the ‘any qualified provider’ approach. The approach allows any provider meeting the requirements set by the local commissioner to offer defined services to local patients. Around half of commissioners have taken up the option of using the any qualified provider approach for adult hearing services.
In this report, Monitor looked at what has happened since choice was introduced and asked how could make choice work better for patients in future. This report presents the findings of our research and sets out how the sector could ensure that choice works better for patients.