NHS Could Save £28million Each Year by Reforming Hearing Services

NHSA UK charity is urging the government to review its hearing loss services and says that almost £30 million of taxpayer’s money could be saved each year with the significant changes.

Action on Hearing Loss, formerly known as the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), claims that NHS England could save £28 million per year by introducing a “joined up approach” to the diagnosis and treatment of dementia and hearing loss.

In a recently published report called ‘Joining Up’, the organisation is appealing for the national dementia strategy to be addressed to “substantially improve the quality of life experienced by people with dementia and hearing loss.”

At present, around 37,000 people in England who are deaf or hard of hearing and have dementia go into care homes each year.

Report recommendations include:

  • Ensure funding is provided to meet the needs of people who are deaf or have hearing loss and also have dementia.
  • Introduce a new adult hearing screening programme for 65-year-olds.
  • Targeted hearing checks implemented in care homes and pharmacies.

All these changes would reduce the risk of exacerbating dementia symptoms and the need for expensive residential care. By improving diagnosis and support in the community and giving people digital hearing aids, it will reduce residential care home placements by 28%, saving millions of pounds a year.

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, said: “Our new research reveals that not only would accessing digital hearing aids and community-based support help people with severe dementia to lead better quality lives, but it would also deliver an annual saving of £28 million.

“Indeed, there would be additional significant savings for the taxpayer if the care for people with other long-term conditions like Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes or sight loss took account of the hearing loss affecting many of these people.”

The report was co-written with the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), based at University College London.

An NHS England spokesman told the Health Service Journal: “NHS England, with a range of other stakeholders, is working with the Department of Health to look at whether any further practical steps could be taken to address the issues that affect people with hearing loss, including those suffering from dementia.”

 

(Image free to use courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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