Confusion about adult hearing services

24 May 2022 11:47
Published by: Scott Callan

Local charity Walthew House is calling for NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to urgently address the confusion that has been caused by changes to their adult hearing service provision.

The service has been moved from Stepping Hill Hospital to a group of seven different providers across the whole of Greater Manchester, without being communicated to local people. These providers are Specsavers, Woodley Health Centre, Marple Medical Centre, The Outside Clinic, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Royal Foundation Trust, and Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

One local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, says:

"I contacted the hospital for some replacement hearing aid batteries, who referred me to my GP surgery, who then referred me to Specsavers who said they needed an electronic communication from the NHS. The changes have created an inconvenient, inefficient, and annoying process."

Hearing loss affects 17% of people in the UK, and estimates show that up to 51,000 residents across Stockport have some form of hearing loss. These changes could potentially disrupt the lives of one in every six residents of the borough.

Eight months after first finding out about the changes being made to the services, Walthew House is still receiving calls from people recounting their experiences of the complicated and drawn-out attempts they have made to receive simple assistance from services that are contracted to help them.

Naomi Mather, Operations Manager at Walthew House, says:

"The confusion caused to our service users and the broader population of Stockport is massive; what used to be a familiar and straightforward service has now become a confusing process, with many barriers to access."

Walthew House has contacted the service providers and the Stockport CCG to explain why residents have not been informed of the changes and what they will be doing to rectify the confusion they have created. No response has been received to date.

Walthew House provides an information service to local people living with hearing loss, and the charity can be contacted on 0161 480 2612 for help and support.

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