Barry Downes took the opportunity to set out his presidential ambitions in the closing presentation of the Development Day, which took place at the Arlington Arts Centre in the grounds of Mary Hare School, near Newbury, in Berkshire. With a single message: he wanted to raise the standing and status of the profession – a simple statement, he said, but one which demanded a willingness to face up to change.
“We must respond to the challenges facing our profession and the wider world of audiology, from the reforms of NHS Adult Hearing Services which are partly the result of the AQP programme, but, more so, the introduction of IQIPS standards which are designed to define a high quality service.”
He told around a hundred delegates that IQIPS effectively raised the bar of quality for NHS service delivery and consequently private practice had to ensure that it delivered consistently higher standards of service which demonstrated its commitment to a professional practice which was client-patient-centered and evidence-based. In an uncompromising speech Barry, a member of the Society since 1978, warned that independent/private sector hearing care for adults had not changed enough in recent decades. “In differentiating our services from those provided by the NHS, we need to rely on more than offering a wider range of amplification technologies and fitting styles and spending more time with our clients/patients. We must embrace a paradigm shift towards truly client-/patient-centred practices with a wider range of assessment methods, more client/patient education, a strong focus on measuring outcomes and totally personalised rehabilitation planning and support.”
Earlier, Barry had been handed his chain of office by the retiring President Peter Ince who told the audience that the Society was in safe hands. Peter had chaired the Annual General Meeting - his last official duty after two years as the Society's president. He was thanked for his contribuiton over the last two years by Roger Lewin who made a small presentation to Peter in recognitiion of "his tireless work for BSHAA".
The BSHAA Directors Reports, Income and Expenditure Reports and Financial Statements 2012 were accepted at the meeting and in the voting for four Council members, three long standing members were elected for a further term of office: (Treasurer David Foley; Education and Professional Practice Chair, Roger Lewin and Peter Sydserff who now chairs the Communications Committee) A new Council member was also elected: she’s Carol Beecher who runs an independent hearing care practice in Cambridgeshire and has been a hearing aid dispenser since 2003.
During last year's AGM an Innovation Forum was held, during which delegates took part in workshops to set out what they thought ought to be the priorities for the Society in the coming year. In a presentation after the formal part of this year's meeting, Roger Lewin (Forum Organiser), Barry Downes (as Chair of the Education and Professional Practice Committee) and Peter Sydserff (as chair of the Communications Committee) explained what the break-out groups had discussed, and then rated in importance, and how the Council had responded. Innovation Forum Feedback presentaton.
AQP - "Actually Quite Perplexing" was the title of the first presentation made by Paul White, Managing Director of Health Horizons Ltd. Paul has been working with BSHAA on the AQP project for some time now, and gave delegates an overview of where the introduction of choice for adult hearing care had reached as well as explaining the support materials he had written and which are available on the website. AQP Service Pack He also went on to explain IQIPS and its potential impact on the future of the professional practice of RHADs - even those not participating in AQP. In a lively discussion afterwards it became clear how some members were appreciative of the work the Society was doing to explain AQP and support those who were seeking accreditation while others, just as strongly, felt no effort at all should be put into AQP which they perceived as bad news for the independent dispenser. Paul explained that hearing care was just one of the areas where AQP was being introduced and ignoring would not prevent it happening.
Paul's presentation was followed by the special guest speaker who had travelled from the United States to take part in the Development Day. Dr Donald J Schum is Vice President of Audiology and Professional Relations at Oticon USA, and spoke about ageing from the audiological and cognitive perspectives. "How do patients' sensory or neurological systems change with time, especially in regard to speech understanding and communications?" he asked. He also challenged his audience to consider how these changes should affect the way they worked with older people when fitting hearing aids. This talk was called "How do patients' sensory or neurological systems change with time, especially in regard to speech understanding and communications?":