Charity survey calls for NHS to do more

An audiology hearing test
An audiology hearing test

NHS audiology services in Ayrshire and Arran are being urged to do more to meet the individual needs of people with hearing loss.

This follows a survey by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland which revealed that 85% of 321 responding patients said they do not have an Individual Management Plan (IMP).

Effective IMPs take into account a patient’s level of hearing loss, listening needs as well as their communication, social and relevant personal circumstances to ensure they can make informed decisions about how best to manage their hearing loss.

Scotland’s national quality standards for audiology require all patients to have a plan developed to manage their individual hearing needs which should be updated and agreed on an on-going basis

The findings of the survey, which was taken by 1084 NHS audiology patients throughout Scotland, are being published in the charity’s Time to Raise the Standards report.

The report also highlights that 43% of 282 respondents from Ayrshire & Arran said that, when they had their hearing assessed by an audiologist, they were not asked how their hearing loss was affecting everyday life, such as at work, at home or undertaking hobbies.

Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Delia Henry, said: “It’s very concerning that the vast majority of the people from Ayrshire & Arran who responded to our survey say they don’t have an IMP. This is vital to ensure solutions are provided to meet an individual’s hearing requirements. The needs of an elderly person with hearing loss living in sheltered housing could be substantially different to those of a younger person whose daily life may involve numerous meetings and telephone conversations, and it’s important that everyone can get the support which enables them to live the life they choose. To drive the improvements that are needed, we want the NHS audiology service in Ayrshire and Arran to start ensuring their performances against the national standards are independently monitored and patients are informed of the outcomes every year.”

Liz Moore, NHS Ayrshire and Arran Director for Acute Services, said: “We involve every audiology patient in Ayrshire and Arran in discussions and decisions about their care. In fact, we are unable to progress any form of treatment unless an agreement exists between the patient and staff. The detail around these conversations and agreement forms the patient management plan and is contained within the body of their clinical records.”