National charity Action on Hearing Loss is condemning plans announced by Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group to stop providing hearing aids to hundreds of people who need them across Milton Keynes, Stony Stratford, Olney, Newport Pagnell, Bletchley and Wolverton.
The proposals would mean no one with ‘mild’ hearing loss would receive hearing aids, and people with ‘moderate’ hearing loss would have to go through an unnecessary and inappropriate eligibility test to see if they should receive them.
The plans also propose that just one hearing aid will be provided to people with hearing loss in both ears rather than two “where one aid is sufficient”.
Milton Keynes CCG launched a public consultation on 1 February, which will end on 29 March.
Paul Breckell, chief executive of charity Action on Hearing Loss said: “We are deeply opposed to Milton Keynes CCG’s plans to deny people the hearing aids they need. Hearing aids are the only viable treatment for hearing loss and are a lifeline to millions of people.”
“Being denied hearing aids can affect people’s ability to communicate, work and socialise. Unaddressed hearing loss has been linked to depression, isolation and even an increased risk of dementia.
“Other CCGs who have considered similar proposals have concluded that cutting hearing aid provision is a false economy, and would have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of local people.”
“These proposals also directly contradict NHS England’s official guidance on commissioning services for adults with hearing loss. It makes clear the significant risks of unaddressed hearing loss, and highlights how cost effective and beneficial hearing aids are in mitigating these risks.
“We have already reached out to Milton Keynes CCG and will continue to campaign against unjust and inappropriate cuts to hearing aids provision. We invite members of the public to campaign alongside us to prevent these proposals going forward.”
The charity encourages members of the public to voice their concerns by feeding back on these plans through the CCG’s online survey: http://www.miltonkeynesccg.nhs.uk/adult-hearing-services/