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BSHAA backs campaign to fight restriction of hearing aids

BSHAA is joining with colleagues from the Hearing and Deafness Alliance to urge people in Staffordshire to stand up against the restriction of NHS hearing aids in their county.

NHS commissioners are threatening to ignore the clear and authoritative evidence-based guidance from NICE and deny people access to NHS hearing care unless their loss is severe. This flies in the face of all best practice, including the commissioning guidance which BSHAA helped to produce.
BSHAA encourages all our members who practise in Staffordshire to speak out about the important role that hearing aids can play in supporting healthy, active living and reducing risks associated with isolation, including dementia and cognitive decline.

Hands off our hearing aids

Consultation

In 2015, North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) became the first in England to restrict the provision of hearing aids, denying access to patients with a mild and/or moderate hearing loss who would benefit from hearing aids. BSHAA joined many other organisations in campaigning against this. Despite overwhelming evidence that hearing aids are clinically effective and cost-effective for the NHS, the campaign failed to convince North Staffordshire CCG.

There are five other CCGs that cover Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. So far, none have imposed restrictions on the provision of hearing aids - but that may be about to change. All six CCGs are currently consulting on the provision of five treatments and services, including those for adult patients with hearing loss. The six CCGs are looking to align their policies, and Action on Hearing Loss says there is now a threat to the provision of NHS hearing aids across the whole Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area.

Andrew Coulter - BSHAA president

'The people of Staffordshire deserve to have access to hearing aids on the NHS'

BSHAA president Andrew Coulter said: "BSHAA will always oppose any actions that restrict access to hearing care and hearing technology. There is clear and comprehensive evidence of the clinical benefits of providing hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. A growing body of evidence shows that hearing aids improve communication, social participation and overall health, including preventing depression and cognitive decline which, if untreated, can lead to dementia.

"The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that hearing aids are provided to all adults whose hearing loss affects their ability to communicate. We want to see all CCGs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent following this guidance. The people of the county deserve to have access to hearing aids on the NHS."

The consultation closes on 1 March. There are also a number of consultation events taking place around the county during February.

FIND OUT MORE ON THE ACTION ON HEARING LOSS WEBSITE

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