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April 2024

The Health Reforms

Health reforms are with us and today we look to explore the impact those changes might have on the lives of deaf people and people with a hearing loss.

UKCoD in working in partnership with the Alliance on Hearing Loss and Deafness, ran a major conference with more than 100 delegates from across the public, independent and voluntary sectors, in London on 17th January.

Jim Edwards opening the conference said ‘we are all keen to know that the changes to the health service will bring about improvements to services for deaf people and people who have a hearing loss, UKCoD and the Alliance are working closely to ensure the changes bring about better not worse services’

Roland Hilton & Prof Sir Muir Gray

The morning session, chaired by Brian Lamb, was opened by Prof Sir Muir Grey, focused the audience on how the patient needs to be the centre of the new service structure… recognising the importance of control and choice being in their hands.  This was followed by Prof Adrian Davis, who shared data on the impact of deafness on the peoples lives and how often the perception that deafness has much less impact than other conditions, ignores the crucial impact on communication and therefore how in reality it should be seen as one of the most devastating conditions.

The morning session was rounded off with a workshop to look in detail at the priorities for action, the audience believed were critical to part of the NHS Mandate.

The afternoon session was in two halves the first focusing on the implementation of the introduction of Any Qualified Provider and its impact on adult hearing aid services.  Presentations where given by:

Prof Adrian Davis (Presentation to follow)
Ruth Thompson (Presentation to follow)
Adam Beckham – AQP – the BAA perspective
Helen Pryce – The role of the British Society of Audiology in ensuring choice and quality in audiology services
Barry Downes – An Independent Hearing Care Sector Perspective – A Focus on Patient Choice
Dr Lorraine Gailey – Patient Experience – The Ultimate Test
Dr Pritti Mehta – Evaluation Framework for Adult Hearing Services

The final session focused on the wider impact of health changes on access to health and new technologies and health, from Sherine Krause – Access all areas? Exploring the experiences of people with hearing loss when accessing healthcare,  Steve Powell, and Sue Archbold, Improving Access to Healthcare: the latest technology.

Steve Powell, CEO SignHealth

A key message from the conference from Sue Archbold was the importance of all sectors to work together, ‘to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing world.  Providing access to the latest technologies is vital, whatever the reforms are called, in order to give choice to all’.

Brian Lamb OBE, Dr Pritti Mehta, Prof. Adrian Davis OBE, Dr Sue Archbold

The conference was closed by Brian Lamb, the architect of the conference with a call for the organisations, to focus on ensuring the communication needs of deaf people people with a hearing loss was at the forefront of service provision and development in health.

Brian said ” Public Health policy needs to address all the communication needs of people with hearing loss and deafness.  We need to see policy recognise the devastating impacts if people lose the ability to communicate with others and support those affected to so they can have the same educational success, family relationships, ability to work and good health as everyone else.  Ensuring we put the needs of those with hearing loss and deafness at the centre of the reformed health service and across Government is the key challenge for everyone working in this area.”