The Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee, which is responsible for scrutiny of matters relating to the planning, provision and operation of health services across Staffordshire, has approved North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s plans to cut the provision of NHS hearing aids.
Sadly, the proposals will affect people with mild and moderate hearing loss and are due to come into force on 1 October 2015.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had been called before a meeting of The Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee to defend their proposals. Following almost two hours of questions and debate, the Committee approved a motion proposed by Conservative Councillor David Loades to accept the proposal from the CCG, and review the impact of the CCG’s policy in 12 months’ time. Councillor Loades stated “I don’t believe it’s our business to set clinical priorities in North Staffordshire.”
A counter motion was proposed by Labour Councillor Charlotte Atkins to refer the matter to the Secretary of State. Councillor Atkins stated that “the proposals have national implications and it’s totally contrary to the Health and Wellbeing Board and the policies of the County Council”. This motion was seconded but was not taken to a vote.
The Conservative motion to accept the CCG’s proposals was passed nine votes to eight.
The move comes after the Committee previously voted almost unanimously to reject an earlier version of the CCG’s proposals in September 2014.
Action on Hearing Loss’ Executive Director of Services, Louise Pritchard, who attended the committee meeting, said:
“The Committee’s approval – albeit a tentative one – of North Staffordshire CCG’s plans to restrict NHS hearing aids is a serious blow to the thousands of local people for whom hearing aids are a lifeline and contrary to the weight of robust evidence, expert opinion and public demand proving their necessity.
“Action on Hearing Loss will continue its fight to protect this essential provision and, with our local petition against the proposed cuts gaining momentum, we are calling on Staffordshire County Council and others to do everything in their power to prevent hearing aids from being taken away from those who rely on them to continue their jobs, relationships with family and friends and being able to live their lives to the full.”
If you have suffered hearing loss through your occupation, please contact us on 0800 294 3065 where we will be able to advise you in the best way possible.