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Audiology Services

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 789W, on audiology services, what steps she plans to take to ensure that the planned additional audiology patient pathways are provided. (137710)

Strategic health authorities (SHAs) have provided assurance that their activity plans for 2007-08 will deliver the 18-week milestones including six-week maximum waits for all diagnostic tests by March 2008. SHAs have generally taken the view that they can achieve the necessary reductions in audiology waiting times with a modest procurement of additional independent sector capacity.

The SHAs are confident that the remaining capacity can be found through a combination of more efficient use of existing capacity, extra investment in NHS-provided services and the roll out of the one-stop assessment and fit service model, all of which should have a substantial impact, as set out in ,Improving Access to Audiology’. Services in England, copies of which are available in the Library.

The additional independent sector capacity will be provided through extensions to the existing diagnostics phase 2 procurement and local procurement.