Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Evidence submitted by Michael Snee (AUDIO 31)

  1.  We in Calderdale have a waiting list of 104 weeks for the above services when the audiologist before Christmas 2006 were just starting on waiting list that went back to April 2004. The PCT in a letter to me indicated a 90 week waiting list.

  2.  Its not the fault of the PCTs and the Audiologists. One has to go back to Alan Milburn in, I think, 2002 making a statement to the world and his wife that everybody in the country who was deaf and hard of hearing would have a new digital hearing aid by 2003, £115 mllion was allocated to NHS to achieve this. This is when the problem started for nobody knows how many people are deaf and hard of hearing in the UK. The RNID claim six million and they could be close to the truth.

  3.  If one looks at the return by local authority social services on the total number of deaf and hard of hearing in their locality the figures that are returned are ridiculous. In Calderdale we have a guesstimated total of 25,000 people deaf and hard of hearing. The majority of them are over 65 and many will be dead before they hear again, but the three year return by the local authority to the Department of Health indicates a total of about 800 people.

  4.  The local authority only returns the number of people who are registered, for to register is a voluntary act and the majority of people do not bother the Department of Health when they received the returns. Look at the figures. I think on memory the total for England is about 220,000 consider it to be of low value do a multiplication of sorts and then allocate monies to PCTs for audiology which is never enough.

  5.  You must get people to register and make it mandatory for local authorities to produce an accurate return. The next one is due in March 2007.

  6.  You will find that most forums in the UK have highlighted this problem to their MPs and without the Forums this would have gone unnoticed, and people would be dead before they get a hearing aid. This is just one small item in the agendas of the PPI Forums that have brought to light health inequalities but sadly this will disappear when LINks appears next year.

Michael Snee

Chair, Calderdale PPI Forum

9 February 2007

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