Hospital’s treatment of hearing loss patients not up to standard

Hospital’s treatment of hearing loss patients not up to standard

A recent investigation by patient watchdogs has found hospitals in Wales are not providing support to people with hearing loss. The CHC (Community health councils) visited 68 areas and found 33 of them had “unsatisfactory” standards regarding help for people with hearing loss. Currently hospitals should provide hearing loops in all departments. Hearing loops allow patients with hearing aids to get announcements however in the investigation these hearing loops where not installed, broken and hospital staff didn’t know how to use them.

In the investigation key points of the 33 places rated as unsatisfactory included accident & emergency departments, outpatient clinics, day theatres and main reception desks. It is fairly shocking to hear that key departments such as A&E which require speed and efficient in dealing with patient issues haven’t got the proper communication tools to help patients with hearing issues. Richard Williams, director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru commented with the following “things were not improving and too many people were not getting the service they deserve from the NHS”.

The lack of proper equipment available for people with hearing loss could possibly break equality law which means that public bodies must address communication and access needs. The Welsh government has said “We will also be meeting representatives from the NHS, including the third sector, to help us develop plans to further improve audiology services”. This is a step in the right direction regarding providing the proper facilities for people with hearing loss however it is noted that older buildings, that haven’t been part of any re-construction effort in the last few years are lacking with this equipment. This does create the question as to when these hearing loops will be updated if there isn’t any reconstruction efforts planned.

At Roberts Jackson Solicitors we deal with people who now suffer from hearing loss due to their working environment in the past. These individuals often have to partake in audiology exams and other health conditions that are related to old age. It is a real concern that these individuals are now suffering from discrimination even when they are seeking medical help. One individual who commented on the report via the BBC noted that she now takes a friend with her instead as she was missing out on key details and announcements.

If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss issues as a result of your work we would advise you to contact us via our contact enquiry box on the right of this page or ring our free phone number 0808 115 5009 We offer free initial legal advice so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to pursue a claim.

[1] “Hospitals’ hearing loss help concerns patient watchdogs” Paul Heaney