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Audiometry Facilities

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many National Health Service establishments have audiometry facilities.

In 1986 there were 386 National Health Service hospitals or clinics in England which performed audiometry tests. These dealt with 11,000 new in-patients and 359,600 new out-patients.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if workers exposed to noise above 85 dB(A) can obtain at present a National Health Service audiometry test within two months of a request.

Any member of the public can be referred by their general practitioner for audiometry if this is appropriate. The length of time they may have to wait for an audiometry test will depend upon local circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) when the European directive on noise is fully implemented, by 1 January 1990, how long a worker will have to wait between requesting an audiometry test and having a test through the National Health Service;(2) since the acceptance of the European noise directive, what resources Her Majesty's Government have currently made available for audiometry tests through the National Health Service and how much the Government are planning to provide in the years 1988 to 1990, inclusive;(3) how many staff in the National Health Service are currently undertaking audiometry tests; and how many new staff Her Majesty's Government intend to take on to meet the requirements of the European legislation.

Draft proposals for implementing the directive were published by the Health and Safety Commission on 15 December. Decisions on the details of the implementation will be made when comments on the draft proposals have been received and considered.The funding currently allocated by health authorities for audiometry testing is not recorded centrally, nor is the precise number of medical and/or technical staff involved at any one time in audiometry testing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if Her Majesty's Government are planning to charge workers to have audiometry tests through the National Health Service.