Following the recent revision of the severe deafness definition by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Kenneth Gibson MSP has asked the SNP Government how it will ensure this will be reflected in NHS eligibility for cochlear implants.
Severe to profound deafness is recognised as only hearing sounds louder than 80 decibel hearing level at two or more frequencies without hearing aids, meaning more people than before will be defined by NICE as severely to profoundly deaf.
In response to his written question, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP, advised that NHS National Services, Scotland's National Services Division is working with the Scottish Health Technologies Group - part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland - and the Scottish Cochlear Implantation Service in Kilmarnock to assess the potential implications and impact of the recent revision.
Ms Freeman furthermore advised that NHS National Services Scotland expects this work to be considered by the National Patient, Public and Professional Reference Group on 20 August this year and reported to the National Specialist Services Committee, which is the Governance Group for all National Specialist Services, in September.
The NSSC will be asked to provide a recommendation on the outcome of the assessment for NHS Scotland for consideration by Board Chief Executives.
The Scottish Cochlear Implant Programme was established at Crosshouse Hospital in 1988 and the Service now supports over 500 users.
NHS Ayrshire & Arran is commissioned by the National Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland to provide the national cochlear implant service for profoundly deaf adults and children from across Scotland.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Following the revision of this definition I am pleased that NHS Scotland is already working on an impact assessment, which I will follow with interest.
“Since of 2015/16, children and adults with severe or profound deafness both across Scotland and here in Ayrshire have been entitled to receive automatic upgrades to their cochlear implant sound processors every five years.
“I expect this to lead to a further programme extension which will include people who only hear sounds louder than 80 decibel hearing level at two or more frequencies without hearing aids and who were not covered under the previous definition.”