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Royal National Institute for Deaf People Website

Department of Health Website

News Item

Tuesday 4th November 2003

National Framework for the Provision of Hearing Aid Services to the NHS – Public Private Partnership

In 2002, the RNID & NHS Purchasing & Supply Agency (PASA) ran a pilot scheme with two NHS Trusts and private hearing aid companies to provide NHS Hearing Aid Services using the private sector. The pilot was evaluated by the Medical Research Council.

Professor Adrian Davis who authored the MRC evaluation commented, “Our research concluded that judicious, quality assured use of private sector hearing aid dispensers has substantial promise in delivering a major boost to capacity. By training hearing aid dispensers in modernised NHS protocols and by working in partnership with them, we can be confident they will provide a high quality service. Furthermore private sector audiology can make available additional affordable capacity, so it makes practical sense to draw upon their expertise and experience.”

Subsequently during 2003, RNID, PASA and Department of Health undertook a national tendering process and selected two companies, Ultravox (Amplivox & Ultratone) and David Ormerod Hearing Centres for the provision of Hearing Aid Services to the NHS.

NHS Audiology departments that have already been modernised as part of the Modernising Hearing Aid Services (MHAS) project, can now make use of these companies to help increase their local capacity. Central funding is available for implementation of the PPP and appropriate NHS Audiology Services are now being invited to apply for this.

For the latest information on modernised sites please see the locations pages.

Successful Trusts will work in partnership with one or both of the companies and offer people the option of seeing a Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser (RHAD) at a new location. It will be the responsibility of the Trust to select the patients - people cannot approach the companies directly to make appointments.

The private dispensers involved will all be registered with the Hearing Aid Council and will have additional training in NHS MHAS protocols. The dispensers will be fitting Hearing Aids in the same way as the local NHS Department and the Hearing Aids will be the same as those used at the local NHS department.

The service remains free at the point of delivery for the user.

Heads of Service are invited to attend one of four national roadshows that have been set up by RNID in order to raise awareness and understanding of the scheme.

These will be held in the week beginning Monday 17th November. An electronic copy of the booking form is available in the Audiology Resources section of this website.

The agenda will include a brief history of the PPP, experiences of sites who have already worked with private dispensers and more details about the application and implementation processes.