Sir George Young, MP for North West Hampshire who has been campaigning with RNID for the Government to make digital hearing aids available to all on the NHS, today welcomed two new breakthroughs in the campaign which will lead to further modemisation of hearing aid service in the UK.
Negotiations with hearing aid manufacturers, led by RNID Chief Executive James Strachan, have dramatically reduced the cost of digital hearing aids to the NHS from £140 - £205 to just £70 -£75.
This significantly reduced price means a further cost saving to NHS Trusts providing digital hearing aids under the Modernising Hearing Aid Services (MHAS) programme. It also makes it possible for all NHS audiology departments to begin fitting digital hearing aids and prepare for modernisation.
Prior to RNID's campaign, advanced digital hearing aids were only available from private hearing aid dispensers for up to £2500 each.
RNID has also just published Best Practice Standards for Adult Audiology -the first comprehensive set of standards to provide a blueprint for how audiology services should be run. The Standards are jointly funded by the Department of Health and RNID, and together with the detailed NHS procedures for fitting digital hearing aids, will help transform the service provided to deaf and hard of hearing people by the NHS.
RNID Chief Executive James Strachan said: "Digital hearing aids now cost the NHS a fraction of their retail price, enabling more to be achieved with the funds already committed and the roll-out of modernised NHS hearing aid services to proceed more quickly across the country."
Sir George Young said: "I will be writing to my local NHS Trusts to urge them to take advantage of these fantastic new developments and modernise their hearing aid services. For very little money, many of my constituents could enjoy a significantly improved quality of life by having well fitted digital hearing aids."