Longer Waiting Times
According to Action on Hearing Loss, 43% of 128 NHS trusts had to make cuts to hearing services during 2011 and 2012. This has meant longer waiting times and reductions in follow-up care.
Actions Have Consequences
The consequence of longer waiting times is that now with the Choose and Book system, a GP or patient can see which providers are available and how long the waiting time is. Why does this matter? Well, since AQP (Any Qualified Provider) was rolled out, any qualified provider of Audiology services can bid for a contract to provide hearing tests and hearing aids to NHS patients. Prior to AQP, we already had InHealth, a private company, taking a large chunk of patient journeys away from the NHS. Now, any high street hearing aid retailer can bid for these patients if they wish....