NHS continuing to deplete services for hearing loss sufferers
Following on from our article in early February 2015, which highlighted problems with the NHS rationing treatment options for hearing loss sufferers, further worrying evidence has come to light which shows this to be a continuing problem and which is in fact, getting worse.
Back in February 2015 the Clinical Commissioning Groups (an organisation which was set up to deliver NHS services in England) began making cuts to their audiology services by limiting the number of treatments available to patients. This local cutback has meant that ENT departments at hospitals are being overstretched because of the amount of people now using their services. This has resulted in some patients having to wait up to 6 months to be seen by an ENT Consultant. These patients will then have to wait longer before receiving any treatment.
Health authorities have this week published that cost cutting will mean that the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group in the North Staffordshire Healthcare Trust division, as of the 1st October 2015, will no longer fund hearing aids for those suffering with moderate hearing loss. People who are diagnosed with moderate hearing loss commonly struggle to understand speech when there is background noise and have a loss of hearing of between 41 and 55 decibels.
Hearing loss can be debilitating and sufferers can feel socially excluded because of the difficulties they have in following conversation in social situations. The health service is always sufferers’ first port of call when they require treatment but unless those with debilitating hearing loss can afford to pay for hearing aids then there will be no other treatment available.
The charity, Action on Hearing Loss, has spoken out about these findings and has said they are “deeply opposed to such restrictions which could cut off a lifeline for the most vulnerable”.
Service providers themselves also feel that the upcoming changes to the public health service is outrageous and are still aware that they still need to continue to make cuts to the figure of £22 billion over the next 5 years.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health has shared the viewpoint of many and said:-
“Blanket restrictions on treatment are unacceptable and all decisions on treatment should be made by doctors based on a patient’s individual clinical needs.”
The concern is that as the first Clinical Commissioning Group takes steps to minimise treatment options in one region of England, then in view of the further cuts that need to be made, it will likely mean that other regions will also take steps to reduce access to audiology services.
Many of our clients, who suffer with noise induced hearing loss, suffer with moderate to severe hearing loss as a result of being exposed to significant levels of noise. Our clients use the services of the NHS to obtain treatment for hearing loss and tinnitus. However, these changes will mean that they are more likely to have to pay for treatment privately out of any recovered compensation.
If you have worked in industry and have noticed hearing loss and/or tinnitus within the last three years, which you believe was caused by working in a noisy working environment then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation against your former employer.
What’s My Deafness Claim Worth has extensive experience in dealing with people suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus. We have a specialist team of industrail deafness solicitors, as well as a fully trained audiologist, who will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our team understands that it can be a very difficult and daunting time for you and they will do their best to offer an unparalleled support network and specialist legal expertise. If you have suffered a personal injury, which was not your fault, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.If you are suffering from loss of hearing, buzzing or ringing in your ears, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.
If you have been affected by hearing loss or exposure to noisy working environments you should not hesitate to contact us or to try our ‘Calculate my Claim’ feature on the right hand side of this page to see what your claim may be worth. We understand that the symptoms that you are suffering from can have serious consequences on your day to day life. When fighting for your compensation we take into account any time you have had to take off work, any treatment you have had to pay for including the cost of hearing aids and any other losses that you may have incurred.
Claims are dealt with on a no win, no fee basis so if we are unsuccessful in your claim you do not pay anything. If your claim is successful you will keep at least 75% of the compensation that is awarded.
Call 0800 849 8700 to speak to a member of our specialist team of Industrial Disease lawyers who will assist you further with this matter.