Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Evidence submitted by Kath Woolley, Bury Primary Care Trust (AUDIO 7)

  My points are as follows:

Whether accurate data on waiting times for audiology services are available?

  1.  With the Modernising Hearing Aid Services (MHAS) programme and the provision of hardware and software, the data collection for activity has never been more comprehensive.

Why audiology services appear to lag behind other specialties in respect of waiting times and access and how this can be addressed?

  2.  The Diagnostic Waiting Times and Activity template, introduced in January 2006, for collection of pure tone audiometry was non-sensical with unhelpful guidance notes. This led to inaccuracies in figures between Trusts with variations in interpretation. However, the template has now been updated successfully and it is now comprehensible, sensible and meaningful.

  3.  It would be helpful if Siemans could produce software that would enable the effective collation of the required bracketed waiting times ie 1-2 weeks, 2-3 weeks etc as this is not easily calculated by hand and is time consuming. The system currently counts patients waiting 0-13 weeks/13-26 weeks and 26 plus weeks.

  4.  The waiting times in Bury at the end of December 2006 were less than 11 weeks for all diagnostic tests and hearing aid work.

Whether enough new audiologists are being trained?

  5.  The NHS is supporting the students undertaking the four year BSc(Hons) in Audiology. We continually have two students on six-month placement and this week have had an additional student on a two-week placement. These commitments, in a small department, affect our output as the students, observe, practice under supervision and are assessed for their competencies. This investment towards the future workforce should be recognised.

Kath Woolley

Service Director, Audiology, Bury PCT

22 January 2007

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