Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Evidence submitted by Mrs June Henriksen (AUDIO 2)

  The Health Service Journal has an article saying the Health Committee is to undertake a short inquiry into audiology services in England.

  I wondered whether you might note that my mother has had one preliminary appointment about a hearing aid, made through her GP. But she has been told that there is an 18 month wait for her to see the consultant and actually get a hearing aid in the Hexham area. She lives in Haydon Bridge. I have written to the PCT who admit there is no direct access clinic available in Tynedale for hearing aids. They have offered her an earlier appointment at North Tyneside Hospital, but she has more considerable health problems and does not feel up to the travelling or going to a completely unfamiliar place.

  She has had a heart attack (mild) before Christmas and has been told she has quite severe stenosis of the aortic valve for which she has been offered treatment, because she is otherwise very fit and mentally alert. However, at 86 she feels the open heart surgery necessary would pose too many risks and she is currently declining this offer.

  Having a hearing aid would mean she could hear consultants whom she must now see regularly without the difficulty she has at present. Her recent spell in hospital was the first time she has ever been in a hospital, and the first time she has ever taken drugs apart from a daily aspirin—consultants found it hard to believe.

  She may not have 18 months to live. I hope very much she does have. But I do feel that an 18 month waiting list for an elderly person for a hearing aid is untenable. She would like to have a digital hearing aid, which I believe is what is now on offer. The Northumbria Healthcare Complaints Department, who took on board my comments to the PCT, and the Operational Services Manager are continuing to pursue the issue, I gather from correspondence, and hope to speak to the Clinical Director for ENT.

Mrs June Henriksen

January 2007

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