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February 5, 2003

Investment in Scottish hearing services

From:, U.K. - 05 Feb 2003


By Health Newswire reporters

The Scottish Executive has announced today (05/02/03) that NHS audiology services in Scotland are to receive an £8 million boost, after a report found them to be the worst in the UK.

The report, published by the Public Health Institute of Scotland in November, concluded that audiology services suffered from inadequate facilities, staff shortages, financial pressures and outcomes that were inferior to the rest of the UK and overseas.

The report also recommended a sustained programme of investment to reverse the decline in audiology services, meet increasing demands and enable the implementation of hearing screening for newborn babies. Improved staff training, better organisational and management structures and the development of good working practices were also recommended.

Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan said the report provided a clear blueprint for NHS Boards to follow when modernising services.

“The executive is fully committed to the general principle of modernising audiology services and will ask NHS Boards to develop modernisation action plans for hearing aid services,” she said.

“We will also appoint a project director to facilitate and co-ordinate modernisation activity over the next two years.”

Ms Mulligan added that a new central audiology advisory group would be set up. The group will be charged with informing and monitoring service development, and overseeing the creation of local working groups comprising representatives from education, social services, the voluntary sector and service users.

John Low, chief executive of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), said the investment was “great news” for deaf and hard of hearing people in Scotland.

“RNID Scotland has campaigned for, and worked with the Scottish Executive to research current levels of audiology services and we look forward to seeing the implementation of these recommendations throughout the NHS in Scotland,” he said.

© HMG Worldwide 2003