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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure an adequate supply of qualified audiologists. (92453)

A range of workforce supply initiatives are in place to ensure the national health service workforce continues to meet service needs. These include: improving pay and conditions; encouraging the NHS to become a better, more flexible and diverse employer; increasing training; investing in childcare and continuing professional development; attracting back returners and running national and international recruitment campaigns.

A BSc course in audiology was introduced in 2003-04.

The first cohort of BSc audiology students entered training in 2003-04 and is expected to graduate in 2006

The Department’s commercial directorate is currently scoping a procurement of audiology services from the independent sector, as part of the independent sector treatment centre programme, which will add significant capacity and resource to audiology services in order to help tackle waiting lists. The procurement will be advertised during November, with service commencement during the latter half of 2007.