20.9.21 Hearing Aids – New Self-Referral Pathway
Within the South West Hampshire area we are continually working to improve hearing loss services. We are therefore delighted to introduce a Hearing Aids Self-Referral Pathway from Monday 27 September 2021.
The new referral pathway will be for patients that are over 55 years and most likely to be suffering with age related hearing loss. This group of patients makes up the majority of new referrals. The GP referral via ERS will still be available should patients still wish to visit their GP for advice and for younger patients who may have a different cause of hearing loss and need referral for initial ENT assessment (as per the existing pathway).
Any GP initiated referral should still be made through ERS to the patient’s choice of provider.
The funded pathway shall remain at three years plus two years for annual assessment and patients should be made aware that they are expected to remain with their chosen provider for a minimum of three years. Continuation of the pathway after three years is at the patient’s discretion.
There are no other changes to the pathway. Our local providers (LQP’s; Scrivens, Specsavers and InHealth Ltd) already have the mechanisms to onward refer to our Community ENT providers if clinically indicated to Southern Health Foundation Trust and Omnes Healthcare Ltd.
Patients under 55 years
GPs retain the responsibility to assess and refer patient less than 55 years to the appropriate clinical service, community ENT if there is uncertainty or concern regarding the cause for hearing loss, or to make a direct referral to one of the LQP’s for audiological assessment for hearing aids.
This pathway change is supported by best practice and offers a benefit to the local system as it saves valuable GP appointments. It also offers benefit to the patient as they will have more choice on locations.
This development has been discussed at a recent Locality Clinical Leads meeting where they were in favour of the change to self-referral to reduce burden on primary care.
Please see attached pathway.
Contact: If you have any queries regarding this process please contact Kerry Budd, Service Improvement Manager, Robbie.email@example.com