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Hearing Impaired: Waiting Lists

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people are waiting for hearing tests in (a) England, (b) West Yorkshire, (c) Hemsworth constituency and (d) Mid Yorkshire hospitals NHS trust; what steps are being taken to decrease these waiting lists; and if she will make a statement; (121824)

(2) how many patients have been waiting (a) more than six months, (b) more than 12 months and (c) more than 24 months for a hearing aid to be issued after an initial hearing test and diagnosis in (i) England, (ii) West Yorkshire, (iii) Hemsworth constituency and (iv) Mid Yorkshire hospitals NHS trust; and what steps are being taken to decrease these waiting times.

The table contains information about the number of people waiting for audiological assessments, including hearing tests. A breakdown of data is not available for specific kinds of audiological tests. It includes details of the number of people waiting for audiological assessments within all primary care trusts (PCTs) in West Yorkshire. Figures on Hemsworth constituency are not available but figures for Wakefield PCT are shown in the table. We do not collect data about how long patients are waiting for a hearing aid fitting or issue following diagnosis.

We collect data in weekly time bands, so more than 26 weeks and more than 52 weeks are used. The available data are in the table as shown.

Commissioner based waiting information for audiological assessments (end of December 2006)

Total waiting

Total waiting over 26 weeks

Total waiting over 52 weeks

All England

170,033

84,374

49,979

PCTs in West Yorkshire

8,631

6,625

4,722

Wakefield PCT(this includes Hemsworth)

3,972

3,190

2,316

Mid Yorkshire hospitals NHS trust

5,934

4,768

3,457

Source:

Department of Health, DM01

In order to improve access and reduce waiting times for audiology services, a national action plan is being developed for publication soon.

In addition to the development of the action plan, the Department has also announced the procurement of up to 300,000 audiology pathways to provide assessment, fitting and follow up.

Both of these measures will assist in significantly reducing waiting times and will greatly benefit those who receive hearing aids.