Deaf children’s futures are being jeopardised by over stretched services, says the National Deaf Children’s Society.
The charity’s survey found 47 percent of services across the region, including Buckkinghamshire, seeing longer waiting times for children’s first assessments and hearing tests, blaming lack of staff and rising demand.
Since services were last surveyed in 2012, the Government has replaced mandatory inspections of children’s audiology services with a voluntary scheme known as IQIPS [Improving Quality In Physiological Services].
The report explains that services which complete IQIPS are less likely to have staffing issues and problems with waiting times. Given the survey findings, it raises concerns that service quality could be slipping without mandatory inspections.
Currently, 85 per cent of services in England haven’t completed IQIPS and many have not even begun. Nearby Milton Keynes Hospital is one of the places not engaging with IQIPS at all.
Mother Josie Rowe, whose three-year-old relies on the audiology service, said: “When my daughter was first diagnosed, we had huge issues with audiology.
“It was hard to get to speak to the right people and waiting times were ridiculous – I ended up crying down the phone before I got an appointment,” she said.
“Staff are all friendly and helpful, but they’re clearly overworked and underfunded so everything takes forever.
“I shouldn’t have to fight to get help for my daughter,” she added.
“We need proper inspections of audiology services so managers can be held to account and problems like this aren’t allowed to happen.”
To check the map and find out more about the campaign run by the National Deaf Children’s Society, visit www.ndcs.org.uk/listenup.
The Bucks Herald is interested in talking to any families in the Aylesbury area who have deaf children using local services. Have you been affected by stretched services? What has been your experience in Aylesbury Vale?
Get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org