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      Protest highlights strengh of opposition to NHS hearing aid cuts

      5 November 2014

      Local campaigners demand North Staffordshire CCG drop proposals

      Local hearing aid users turned out in force today to protest against the North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) proposals to cut NHS hearing aid provision. Local campaigners joined our demonstration outside the CCG’s Board meeting in Stoke-on-Trent, showing the strength of public opposition to the cuts. The protest gave health bosses a clear message; illustrating the human impact of their proposals and ensuring they can’t ignore the negative response of both the public and local scrutiny committees to their plans.

      North Staffordshire CCG set out proposals in June to withdraw the provision of NHS-funded hearing aids for people with mild to moderate adult-onset hearing loss. This would deny people with hearing loss an essential lifeline and could set a worrying national precedent, leading to similar decommissioning proposals by other CCGs across the country. This is why we’ve been campaigning hard ever since to urge the CCG to drop their plans.

      Over 6,300 people have now signed our petition asking the CCG not to cut hearing aids services in North Staffordshire. At the end of July we submitted our full response to the CCG, highlighting the comprehensive evidence of the clinical benefits of hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Following this, in September, the CCG presented their proposals to three local scrutiny committees, who all voted to oppose their plans.

      However, despite all of the evidence shared and the opposition of both the public and local Councillors, the CCG have continued to signal to us that they will either press on with their original proposals, or a slightly modified version of them with minor adjustments that will still leave many people with hearing loss unable to access NHS hearing aid provision.

      We urge CCG to drop proposals now!

      Our Chief Executive, Paul Breckell, said: “Today’s demonstration from local people hints at the huge weight of public opposition to the proposed cuts and clearly shows what the continued provision of free NHS hearing aids means to people of North Staffordshire.

      “Given the sheer amount of evidence submitted since the measures were first announced four months ago, it is very disappointing that North Staffordshire CCG has yet to formally drop the proposed cuts and it is particularly worrying that the CCG seem to be ignoring the clear advice of their local scrutiny committees.

      “Disappointingly, the CCG has indicated that they will now look to develop eligibility criteria for people to receive hearing aids and that the uncertainty around the provision of NHS hearing aids will continue into the new year. All people who could benefit from hearing aids should receive them, and should not be subject to any other criteria.

      “We will continue to fully engage with North Staffordshire CCG, but urge them to drop the proposals, without delay, and continue providing the lifeline of NHS hearing aids to tens of thousands of local people who need them.”

      Find out more about our fight against hearing aid cuts

      Hands off our hearing aids

      For further PR requests and information please contact Gorki Duhra, Senior PR Officer:

      Telephone: 020 7296 8057 or 07944 038635
      Email: gorki.duhra@hearingloss.org.uk
      Twitter:
      @hearinglosspr (external link, opens in new page)