In a Parliamentary answer in reply to Norman Lamb MP which asked;
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what information he holds on the number of clinical commissioning groups which are considering further restrictions on access to hearing aids; and if he will make a statement.
David Mowat made clear that CCG’ should take into consideration the new Commissioning Framework when reviewing Audiology Services for Adults. The full text of his reply is as follows;
“Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing loss within their local population. As with other services which CCGs commission, they should take into consideration assessments of local need and any relevant guidance.
Commissioning services for people with hearing loss: A framework for clinical commissioning groups, published by NHS England in July 2016, provides guidance to inform and support commissioners when making local decisions.
NHS England’s ongoing engagement with commissioners and stakeholders within the hearing loss community will help to ensure that CCGs are commissioning high quality and cost effective hearing loss services that achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.
NHS England does not hold the information requested centrally.”
22nd Feb Hansard.
The reiteration of the importance of the new Commissioning Framework in decisions about how local provision should be organised is welcome. However it is worrying that the Department of Health and NHS England have no central records of what provision is made for hearing loss locally and in which CCG’s this is being restricted.
The Alliance would urge all CCG’s to refer to the Commissioning Framework as part of any review of commissioning arrangements.