Patients wait 13 months for hearing aids

By Juliette MaxamHEALTH bosses are trying to find an urgent solution to 13-month waiting times for hearing aid services.There are currently 1,040 patients waiting for audiology appointments in Clacton - with waiting times for initial assessments now standing at 13 months.

By Juliette Maxam

HEALTH bosses are trying to find an urgent solution to 13-month waiting times for hearing aid services.

There are currently 1,040 patients waiting for audiology appointments in Clacton - with waiting times for initial assessments now standing at 13 months.

Tendring Primary Care Trust is trying to improve waiting times, which are said to be partly caused by Clacton residents' reluctance to go to Harwich, Colchester or Mistley for their hearing aid appointments.


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The trust has now come up with a number of solutions, which include:

n providing a second soundproof booth with associated equipment at Clacton Hospital at the cost of £10,000

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n providing an extra assistant technical officer for audiology, who would work three days a week, which would cost £11,000.

n commissioning a mobile screening facility, estimated to cost £40,000.

Lynne Woodcock, the trust's nursing director, said the high demand for hearing aid services in Clacton was due to the high proportion of old people living in the town.

She added the trust's preferred option was to install a second booth at Clacton Hospital, but there was difficulty in finding space for it.

“We are squashed for space and we need a room five days a week. We are trying to see if there are any areas we can move around to free up clinical space,” said Mrs Woodcock.

Current services in the area include a fortnightly ear, nose and throat clinic at Harwich Hospital for hearing aid repairs sessions with two audiologists.

First assessments, re-assessments and hearing aid issue used to take place at Harwich, but demand was low and the service was transferred to Clacton.

A GP in Mistley runs a weekly ear, nose and throat clinic. Anyone requiring a hearing aid has their notes and an impression of their ear sent to Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust and a fitting is arranged in Colchester or Clacton.

An Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust spokesman said: “Both Essex Rivers and Tendring Primary Care Trust are aware of the situation and are working closely in hand to resolve the situation.”

Tendring Primary Care Trust will discuss the issue at a board meeting on Tuesday.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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