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September 20, 2004

Long waiting times to fit hearing aids are condemned by SDLP

From: Belfast Telegraph, United Kingdom - Sep 20, 2004

20 September 2004

Waiting times for the fitting of hearing aids are a scandal and require immediate action by the Health Minister, SDLP spokesperson on the elderly, Mary Bradley, is demanding.

She was commenting on a survey by the Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists which showed that the average waiting time in Northern Ireland for fitting ranged from 58 to 69 weeks, and that even a first appointment took more than a year.

She said: "At one of our hospitals there is a waiting time of four years, which is quite simply intolerable. Meantime the person in need, who in all likelihood is elderly, is isolated and quite possibly not even in a position to pick up the phone and find out what is going on.

"This is a service which is disabling instead of enabling. There can be no possible justification for such lengthy waiting times for what is a relatively simple process. In some parts of England the whole procedure can be completed in just five or six weeks.

"I will be making representations to the Health Minister to find out the reasons for this scandalous delay and what is going to be done about it."

2004 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd