On 1 October 2015 North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) brought into force its policy to end hearing aid provision for people with mild hearing loss and to severely restrict access to hearing aids for people with moderate hearing loss, becoming the first ever area in England to ration free NHS hearing aids since the inception of the NHS.
Action on Hearing Loss has campaigned against the rationing of hearing aid services in North Staffordshire, including the co-ordination of a petition signed by over 5,500 Staffordshire residents demanding they reverse the cuts.
The Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee (7 November 2016) voted unanimously to refer the policy to the Secretary of State for Health. This follows comments he made last month to the House of Commons Health Committee that “When we hear evidence of rationing happening, we do something about it. It is very challenging on the frontline now for everyone, but we are very clear that the principle of the NHS is a service that is free at the point of use, and we are absolutely determined to give people the clinical care that they need.”
This move is welcomed by the Alliance and we will be looking forward to the response from the Secretary of State. For more information go to https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/news-and-events/all-regions/press-releases/news-item.aspx