Updated guidance on onward referral

The Society has published revised guidance on onward referrals following a consultation at the end of 2017.

The new guidance – which has been endorsed by the British Society of Otology and the British Society of Audiology – is available to download here, and we have three accompanying videos for you to view.

Jay Jindal, the Society’s professional development consultant, introduces the new guidance; Andrew Coulter, BSHAA Vice President and chair of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC), looks at some case studies to discuss the application of the new guidance; and BSHAA Council member Raul Garcia-Medina discusses in detail the recommended optimal content for referral letters.




Dr Jay Jindal introduces the revised guidance…


Andrew Coulter looks at some case studies…


Raul Garcia-Medina discusses the recommended optimal content for referral letters…



The updated guidance draws on the recognition provided by Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) that HADs are regulated and authorised to practise independently. Of course, they should do so within their scope of practice, which is defined by the standards of training and ongoing professional development. Recognising referable conditions and being confident to make onward referrals is an integral part of the competence required to maintain HCPC registration.

Regardless of a medical condition that a service user may have, suitable hearing care may be provided alongside the onward referral. For example, if someone has an asymmetry in their audiogram, a medical opinion ought to be sought to explore the root cause of this asymmetry but ultimately, that service user may also need hearing care from the hearing aid dispenser.

For this document, BSHAA has been working closely with sector colleagues to to reach a shared approach applicable across all of the hearing sector. We performed an extensive evidence search to try to close the gap between the existing document and the latest evidence. In fact, we found that our existing criteria was already robust and with only a few changes, typically more cosmetic than technical, we were able to shape the latest document. We tried to find the most recent references and went through a lot of papers before citing them in the document. Some of the references never made it to the final version as we did not find them suitable enough.

The first draft was sent for comments to all our members, Fellows and all the major organisations representing the sector. The draft was in consultation for more than a month. Each comment received was looked at very carefully, and the majority were accepted. This is, indeed, reflected in the changes that were made to the final version of the guidance.

We are very pleased that one of the most important ear health-related organisations in the UK, the British Society of Otology, has reviewed the final version and have given it their seal of confidence with an endorsement: “The British Society of Otology are pleased to endorse the BSHAA Referral Guidelines for HCPC registered Hearing Aid Dispensers.”

The British Society of Otology (BSO) is dedicated to the development of otology and the advancement of public education and research on hearing and balance in the United Kingdom. The Society also has the role of advising ENTUK and the Department of Health on matters relating to otology and audiology.

Furthermore, the British Society of Audiology (BSA) has also endorsed our updated guidance: “The British Society of Audiology (BSA) welcomes the referral guidelines published by the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, noting particularly the evidence-based guidance which this document provides for independent sector practitioners. The BSA is, therefore, pleased to offer its endorsement of these referral guidelines.”

BSA was founded 50 years ago as a non-profit learned society. It is a leading UK organisation for all professionals integrated in the latest science and its application in improving people’s lives with hearing and balance problems.


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