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Hearing Aids

Volume 976: debated on Friday 21 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Royal National Ear, Nose and Throat hospital about the relative needs of 4,000,000 hearing-impaired patients compared with the profits of 400 private dispensers; what replies he has sent; and if he will make a statement.

I have received no representations from the board of governors of that hospital.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will reject any proposal for co-operation between the National Health Service and the private hearing aid industry if this involves payments for hearing aids by deaf people;

(2) if he will seek to ensure that no deaf person would be deprived of an appropriate hearing aid because they are unable to afford a private model;

(3) what steps he is taking to assist deaf people in need of hearing aids who can not benefit from existing National Health Service models.

I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend, the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) on 19 December. I have no plans to introduce charges for hearing aids or to change the present arrangements for the prescription and supply of models in the standard NHS range.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what his estimate is of the number of deaf people whose need for hearing aids is not met by existing National Health Service models.

Information on which to base a reliable estimate is not available, but the number is believed to be very small.