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I’m not allowed to see an audiologist without a re-referral

I wanted to share my concerns about a decline in NHS assistance.
NHS services for the deaf in my area are based in a pleasant new building. However, access to audiologists is extremely restricted. There are walk-in clinics 3 times a week for “routine repairs” (tubing etc) when a person puts your aid in a bag, asks what the problem is, takes the aid away and brings it back (say) ten minutes later.
You do not see an audiologist. You do not get a chance to explain to a professional that there is something wrong with the aid and the nature of the problem.  I was told that for this I had to be referred by my GP. Otherwise one could only have a check-up every two years!  This does seem a very cumbersome way of handling what may be quite minor problems. Is it typical?

Gary, Brighton

Deafauntie says:

Dear Gary, I have had exactly the same problem and I asked my doctor at the hospital. He said the NHS are trying to cut down waiting lists. As soon as a problem has been ‘solved’, they drop the patient. The NHS forgot to take into account those people (eg: us) who have a lifelong issue or ‘medical condition’ such as deafness.
And yes, we have to go back to our GP and get re-referred. It almost makes me want to be a politician and GET THIS SORTED! Your problem actually has several issues in it : 1) the impersonal service where the hearing aid is fixed behind the scenes (very rude, if you ask me), 2) no understanding that there might be other issues alongside the hearing aid to be discussed, and 3) the expectation that we’ve all got time to keep making appointments especially when we don’t use the phone.
Get yourself elected onto the Patients Committee at the hossie and make lots of noise! Ask Hearing Link to start a campaign to adjust this ridiculous state of affairs.

Yours in exasperation,

Deafauntie

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10 responses to “I’m not allowed to see an audiologist without a re-referral

  1. Hi Gary
    I had an appointment at the hospital last week and was quite amazed by the difference in services. I had to self-check-in (there are no receptionists) and the consultants themselves come out and call you into the room.
    I enquired about hearing therapy as I had contact with them about 8 years ago and was told it had all gone.I then asked about lipreading and sign language and was asked to look at the notice board for lipreading. I understand most classes have to be paid for. As far as sign language goes, again no assistance at all. I believe there is a drop-in clinic for hearing aids – but it seems for other equipment and services there is now no assistance at all.My consultant did look apologetic about not being able to do anything but the reduction in services is clearly not his fault.
    The sooner the benefits are reviewed and services put back where they are really needed, the better!

  2. I share all experiences and likewise not happy……there are obvious answers to improve the services…and yes I am always writing to MPs and etc to make these suggestions….

  3. Christine Staines

    Hi Gary,

    I noticed you live in Brighton. I have a friend in Brighton who send me a copy of an article in The Argus regarding Audiology. ” Hearing services go out to tender”. A private company is to take over responsibility for carrying out NHS hearing aid services in Brighton and Hove. Maybe this as something to do with it? Private companies are may not be fully Deaf aware.

  4. I had a big problem with my left hearing aid and reported it several times to the audiologist at the drop in clinics but to no avail. I was furious when the audiologist finally agreed for a new hearing test and arranged a review. Months of really struggling afterwards revealed a hearing drop and worse of all that the aids were not balanced correctly. This was not picked up at the drop ins and it was only to my persevered attempts that I got things sorted. What about these more passive eldest patients? How on earth would they get anywhere? Ask for a review if you are not happy and also you have a right to ask to be transferred elsewhere. I don’t go to the Royal Ear, Nose and Throat hospital but have heard excellent feedback and aftercare so if you are able to switch hospital, so do to this one!

  5. Whenever I go to the hospital – I always insist on seeing an Audiologist. I play on the fact that I’m THERE and it’s madness to wait several weeks for an appointment and there’s staff just sitting round in the office…this works for me! Someone will say ‘OK, come this way…’ No harm in trying…! 🙂

  6. Goodness, no wonder the people that come to our department are so happy… We have open access Monday to Friday 9 till 4.30 when you can have your hearing aid repaired, retubed, discuss changes, and have a review of your hearing and/or hearing aids if needed, all face-to-face. No re-referrals, no waiting (other than for upto about 30mins if we have a waiting room full, but then all available staff help). And no, other aspects haven’t suffered, we’re just not under quite the same pressures in Wales.
    Audiology is going through a really difficult time in England, with services up for tender as you say, so please don’t keep quiet – chances are they’d love you to speak up, you might not think it, but your voices are taken very seriously by the powers that be, much more so than employees. Make a complaint, ask if they have a forum, or just add a comment to the box; it all really helps, honestly!

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