A clinical commissioning group has made a u-turn on who can get free hearing aids across North Staffordshire. For some time, residents within the area who have, what is classed as ‘moderate’ hearing loss, have not been able to have access to free NHS hearing aids – the only area in the country where that has been the case.
A clinical commissioning group has made a u-turn on who can get free hearing aids across North Staffordshire.
For some time, residents within the area who have, what is classed as ‘moderate’ hearing loss, have not been able to have access to free NHS hearing aids – the only area in the country where that has been the case.
However, the North Staffordshire CCG Governing Body has recently made the decision to change who can now get free hearing aids.
But people with ‘mild hearing loss’ living in North Staffordshire will still be unable to have free NHS hearing aids, unlike those living in the rest of Staffordshire.
A spokesman for the CCG said on Monday (February 1): “All patients with moderate hearing loss will now become eligible to receive NHS hearing aids.
“The decisions has been made by the North Staffordshire CCG Governing Body at its meeting on the January 28.
“Until now patients with moderate and mild hearing loss in North Staffordshire were only entitled to receive hearing aids if they met the criteria outlined in the Commissioning Policy for Adult Onset Hearing Loss.
“The new decision means: The restrictions for moderate hearing loss have been removed and all patients with moderate hearing loss can now receive hearing aids; The restrictions for mild hearing loss remain in place in North Staffordshire; Patients elsewhere in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent remain able to receive hearing aids for both mild and moderate hearing loss.”
The provision of hearing aids across Staffordshire was covered in a ‘Difficult Decisions’ engagement which was launched by the CCG in January last year.
This particularly looked to address “postcode lotteries” where the availability of treatments, therapies or equipment varied according to where people live.
The CCG has stated that work on Difficult Decisions was largely postponed later in 2020 to enable all clinical resources to concentrate on Covid-19
Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs said: “Following the suspension of the Difficult Decisions programme we were asked by a number of stakeholders to review the position on hearing aids in North Staffordshire.
“We undertook a review and recognise the likely outcome of future engagement and consultation is that no restrictions for moderate hearing loss will be implemented across the other five CCGs and therefore the current restriction in North Staffordshire should be removed.
“This also means mild hearing loss is unchanged and remains part of the Difficult Decisions programme.”
The CCG also stated that: “it is not yet possible to say when the rest of the Difficult Decisions programme will resume.”
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