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CCG abandons plans to deny hearing aids to patients with mild hearing loss



A CCG has scrapped plans to stop funding hearing aids for individuals with mild hearing loss after a consultation determined it would adversely affect the quality of life of a ‘large proportion’ of individuals.

NHS North East Essex CCG had a six week consultation process on cost-cutting measures that would deny patients a hearing aid unless they had hearing loss of at least 37 decibels.

But in its conclusion, the CCG said: ‘The CCG has reviewed the feedback received from its local communities, patients, carers, hearing loss support groups, local and national experts as well as providers of this service and following further clinical discussion we now believe that implementing this proposal could have the potential to adversely impact on the quality of life for a large proportion of individuals living with mild hearing loss across north east Essex.’

However, it added it was still looking at how the service could be provided in a more ‘cost-effective’ way, and would review its policy in line with a national commissioning framework for hearing services that NHS England is producing.

The CCG is required to save £14m a year for the next four years, in a bid to address budgetary deficit and is already cutting fertility services, vasectomies and gluten free meals.

Pulse has shown commissioners across the country have increasingly been raising barriers for treatments from hearing aids, to weight loss, in a bid to tackle the NHS’s £22bn funding black hole.