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Hearing Aids

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 3 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Health if within the Health Service, there is provision made for any form of appeal from the decision of a doctor not to recommend a hearing aid.

Do I understand the Minister to say that there is no appeal and that a doctor's opinion virtually will condemn a man to deafness for life in the event of that opinion being against the man?

It is not the specialist who condemns the patient to deafness; it is nature. What we have provided for is that a person who has something wrong with his hearing goes first of all to a G.P. He then has what he never had before: the opportunity of seeing a specialist at a hospital and a proper otologist. He then is examined. If a specialist says that a hearing aid is of no use to him it is hardly conceivable that there ought to be an appeal against that decision. It is not a judicial matter.

Does the Minister really mean to say that before the National Health Service Act came into force people could not go to a hospital and get free treatment?

The answer is to be found in the distribution of the Medresco Aids. A very large number of people are now having for the first time the opportunity of an aural aid and, therefore, of getting their hearing tested.