The National Community Hearing Association (NCHA), an organization in the United Kingdom that works with the government, hospitals, charities and private providers to ensure that people can access hearing care and related healthcare reports that the House of Lords Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the National Health Service (NHS) has published the NCHA’s written evidence submission, which it can now publicly share.
The House of Lords appointed a Select Committee on the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS in May 2016 and issued a call for evidence and viewpoints on any changes that may need to be made to improve health services. Earlier this summer the NCHA responded to the call for evidence, and the policy team has continued to track oral evidence sessions.
The NCHA’s written submission, which highlights improvements in NHS adult hearing care services, is now public and can be viewed here. In its response, the NCHA made the case for change, emphasizing three key areas for action:
- Delivering more care out of hospital has been a policy goal since the 1980s, but one that experts accept the NHS has failed to deliver. NHS leadership must now shift services that do not have to be delivered in hospitals into community-based settings. For example, today hospitals report doing more than 1.1 million hearing aid repairs each year, yet this is not an efficient use of hospital capacity. With finite capacity in hospitals, failure to act will result in an unsustainable healthcare system much sooner than 2030.
- Take preventative and public health seriously. Helping the population to age well should be the main priority. Policy documents from 2007 and 2014 state the importance of preventative and public healthcare, but as the Five Year Forward View makes clear, the NHS has not delivered on these pledges and is now “on the hook” because of this. Commissioners should be required to demonstrate what preventative and public health interventions they are focussing on, and be challenged if they fail to act.
- Hold system leaders to account and increase transparency. It is important to hold system leaders, both at a national and local level, accountable when scarce resources are wasted. The adult hearing service provides one example of how, despite a national review and guidance, NHS commissioners across England continue to spend over 25% more than they have to. This is only possible due to a lack of transparency and accountability in the system.
For more information and viewpoints from the NCHA regarding hearing care in the UK and Ireland, read the September 28, 2016 article at HearingReview.com. For information on NHS activities and programs, read the July 19, 2016 HR article.