Audiology

Changes to non-complex hearing services for people aged 55 and over in East Berkshire

In the early part of 2018 the CCG underwent a procurement process for its non-complex hearing service for people aged 55 and over. There are some real benefits with the new service following extra investment by the CCG. This includes improved access, by offering a wider choice of qualified providers for patients to choose from, and clinics in the community rather than a hospital setting. Contracts were successfully awarded in January 2019 to six providers, four of whom were new. One of the previous providers, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, decided not to bid for this contract.

The CCG are aware that the transition to the new providers has not been as smooth as we would have liked, and we have produced some information below which may be helpful in deciding where to go, in order to access your hearing and balance service.

As part of this, we have looked at key things including parking, customer toilet facilities and mobility access. If needed, patients now have the opportunity to opt-in for the home visiting service. This service was not previously available and particularly benefits those with mobility issues to these services. Click here to see further information about the providers.

 

All six* providers were awarded the contract after successfully meeting NHS service quality requirements and accreditation criteria. Their applications were assessed through a robust clinically led process and with a patient representative to ensure the provision of a high quality service met required national standards. Since the new contracts have been awarded, we have received feedback regarding individual sites which have been passed back to each provider for action where possible. Opticians, who also deliver these Hearing and Balance services, are part of the NHS family and the CCG will be working closely with the providers to ensure good quality care and patient experience.

A list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ have also been put together which contains useful information for patients - Click here

As part of the transition to the new providers in early 2019, over 10,000 patients who had accessed the service over the past five years were written to personally, explaining the change and given the option to select one of the six providers to continue with their care. The change was communicated to our key partners, including Healthwatch, GPs and Patient Participation Groups (PPGs). A set of frequently asked questions were also published on our CCG website to answer patient queries. We are sorry if we didn’t reach you through these methods and hope that the additional information being provided is helpful.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, then please contact eastberksccg.enquiries@nhs.net  Anyone experiencing issues as part of the transfer process, or would like advice, can contact NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Click here.