Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Supplementary written evidence from Ruth Thomsen (AUDIO 21A)

  This is further value-adding material to assist the Health Select Committee in making its recommendations to clear the backlog for Audiology and to keep it clear.

  An important Resource.

  At least 80 BSc Audiology graduates will become readily available Summer 2007.

  An important Question is where will they contribute best value for money in reducing backlogs most effectively? The answer is no doubt they will contribute faster and give best value for money if they are all employed in NHS Audiology Departments as rapidly as they become available.

Why is this so?

  1.  The graduates will hit the ground running when they join NHS departments because their work placements in Year 3 have included working in these departments.

  2.  Only the NHS is really in a position to commit to early job offers to enable the earliest starting date and hence contribute soonest to reducing the waiting list.

  3.  80 graduates can contribute nearly 5,500 patient journeys every month, so every month lost in recruitment means 5,500 patients still in the queue who could have been helped.

  4.  Because they will have very little experience of working in whichever private sector employer eventually decides to offer them a job, an induction period will mean working at perhaps 50% productivity for at least a month or maybe longer. That means a further 2,750 patients still in the queue.

  So time will be lost before confirmed recruitment and lost again in getting up to speed in an unfamiliar environment, and patients will be paying the price.

  5.  Value for money is dramatically better when these graduates are used in an NHS Audiology service which has already been modernised.

  Calculations (using NHS band 5) lead to an NHS cost per journey of £24, [12]this compares extremely favourably with PPP cost per journey of £200. [13]

  The icing on the cake is that this is 88% cheaper than the PPP route.

So what's the obvious next step?

  As soon as possible we should do as originally planned and bring these 80+ graduates into the NHS to start adding value immediately, using the modernised infrastructure already in place and clearing the backlogs.

Ruth Thomsen

Audiologist, Charing Cross Hospital

March 2007

12   £24 based on hourly rate of £9.80 Average patient journey = Direct referral (1 hour), fitting (1 hour), and follow up (1/2 hours) excluding hearing aid. Back

13   PT journey payment without hearing aid excluding hearing aid. Back

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