The needs of people with tinnitus in Northern Ireland were explored in our 2010 research report 'What's that noise?'
,which also scoped the level of support services provided by health and social care services.
The research found that there was a inconsistent approach to the treatment of tinnitus across Health and Social Care Trusts, that professionals required more support and training, and that people with tinnitus did not have adequate information or a clear care pathway to help them access the support they need to learn to manage tinnitus successfully.
We called on
the Department of Health
, to take action to address the needs of people with tinnitus, and were tasked by the then Minister to provide a solution.
We established a multi-disciplinary working group, made up of voluntary sector representatives, a patient representative, audiology, ENT and social work colleagues from each Health and Social Care Trust to work together to identify the best model of support for people with tinnitus in Northern Ireland.
This Strategy outlines a range of pathway options, and recommendations for a new tinnitus service, to include trained experts in every local Trust area, information for patients, and guidance for GPs on delivering a diagnosis and referring onwards.
The Health and Social Care Board is now using our Strategy as a blueprint for the development of tinnitus services in Northern Ireland.