For example, we run local services for people who have hearing loss, such as drop-in clinics where we carry out hearing aid repairs, befriending services and support groups, as well as information provision. We also provide care and support for people who are deaf and have additional needs living independently or in residential care; and we carry out research in health and social care so that we can campaign to improve services for – and the experiences of – people who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus.
To help us shape the new five-year organisational strategy for these areas, we established a UK-wide working group. One of the first things we decided to do was identify specific groups to engage with, and come up with key questions for them. We wanted to find out:
- How will health and social care change over the next five years?
- From a service-delivery perspective, how can we both shape and respond to this changing context?
- From a research, policy and influencing perspective, how can we both shape and respond to this changing context?
So, over a period of six weeks, we sent out a series of surveys to GPs; health commissioners; health boards; people who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus; and professionals working in audiology.
We wanted to find out what they felt are the key issues and priorities for people with hearing loss accessing health and social care.
We also sent a Freedom of Information request to local authorities in England so that they would tell us about the social care services they provide for people who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus.
The results generated from this work will be vital in informing our new strategy, along with existing and emerging evidence from the internal and external environment. Together, this information will support and guide how we decide on the priorities for our strategy in health and social care from now until 2023.