The Society has decided it will continue to oppose plans to cut NHS hearing care provision in Staffordshire following the news that other Clinical Commission Groups in the County may follow the lead of North Staffordshire CCG. It decided this summer that from October 1st it will no longer provide hearing care to new patients presenting with mild hearing loss.
It has now been revealed that four CCGs in South and East Staffordshire are now considering bringing their policies in line and a meeting of the Health Staffordshire Select Committee on September 21st discussed the Hearing Aid Commissioning Policy for the South Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups’.
“The domino effect for hearing aid services to be axed has begun in Staffordshire, and we are worried that this will spread further locally and nationally,” says President Peter Sydserff. “Four more CCGs are proposing to stop providing free NHS hearing aids for adults with mild hearing loss and to limit the number of people with moderate hearing loss who will receive them – these are the people who need them the most,” he added.
Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of charity Action on Hearing Loss says: “We are extremely concerned. Hearing loss is a significant health issue, which, if ignored or unmanaged, can lead to isolation, dementia and mental health problems. Hearing aids are vital in helping people who rely on them to communicate better, stay in work and continue to have an active life, and are the only viable treatment.
‘We are already shocked and disappointed that a neighbouring commissioning group, North Staffordshire CCG, will stop providing hearing aids for most people who need them from 1 October 2015 – an unprecedented step and a first since the inception of the NHS. North Staffordshire CCG brought in their proposals against strong public and professional opposition, without a proper examination of the evidence, and without a full consultation.”
Action on Hearing Loss urged the South Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups to drop these misguided plans and we call on NHS England to intervene to make sure that the CCGs continue to provide hearing aids to all those who need them, particularly in light of the priority that it has placed on hearing loss through the National Action Plan on Hearing Loss. It will be shortly handing in a petition signed by 5,000 people opposing the plans