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CCG drops plan to ration hearing aids

Commissioners in Devon have scrapped plans to restrict patients to only one hearing aid, Pulse has learned.

Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon CCG announced at the end of last year it was continuing to consult on the ‘value of second hearing aids’ as part of cost-saving plans to tackle a 14.5 million deficit, although it had backed down on plans to block smokers or obese people from undergoing routine surgery.

The plan on hearing aids provoked criticism from hearing loss campaigners, who branded it - and other CCGs’ similar proposals - ‘cruel’.

But a spokesperson from NEW Devon CCG told Pulse the CCG has now decided not to pursue the policy any further.

The decision was made at a recent meeting of the CCG’s governing body, the spokesperson said, and information on other decisions about cutbacks would be available ‘in the next couple of weeks’.

In a statement, the CCG said: ‘NEW Devon CCG has been considering a number of proposed measures in order to protect services and prioritise the requirements of the NHS Constitution. Included in this was the proposal to consider funding only one hearing aid except for in exceptional circumstances. 

‘The CCG has always accepted that there is benefit from an additional hearing aid. Our internal review process has concluded that we will not be implementing an Interim Commissioning Position to restrict the funding of hearing aids.’

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