Local hearing loss services for adults are set to be streamlined, according to the local NHS funding group.
At the moment, people aged 55 and over with age-related hearing loss can be referred on the NHS to hearing aid services run by the Royal Berkshire Hospital or SpecSavers, while younger adults with hearing loss are referred as complex cases to hospitals and may face fragmented care.
Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning (BWCCG) is planning to replace these arrangements with a new inclusive Adult Hearing Loss service for all adults over the age of 18 years who experience hearing or inner ear balance problems. BWCCG held an online engagement event on May 20 about the changes but people who weren’t aware of this event can still give feedback about hearing services by Friday 4 June.
The new service
BWCCG says the new service will deliver:
• a high quality, combined service, closer to home
• a seamless patient pathway allowing onward referrals between ENT, adult hearing services and diagnostics when required
• short waiting times for appointments and treatment
• greater provision in areas that have a higher number of people needing services
• a 'lifetime pathway' so patients don't need to go back to their GP for a new referral
• aftercare support and additional self-care/education.