Thousands of deaf babies ‘failed by the NHS’: Audiology departments in three hospitals close as officials launch urgent review into hearing services for children
- An urgent review has been launched into children’s hearing in England
- At least three hospital audiology departments have been closed down
An urgent review into hearing services for children in England has been launched following claims that thousands of deaf babies have been ‘failed by the NHS’.
At least three NHS hospitals have seen audiology departments shut down after children were wrongly given the all-clear over testing errors.
The new review comes following an inquiry into failings at the NHS Lothian health board which found that some children were unable to receive needed implants because of late diagnoses.
Audiology departments were shut down by NHS England over the mistakes at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, Scunthorpe Hospital and Warrington Hospital, The Times reported.
The audiology department at Warrington Hospital has since reopened.
At least three NHS hospitals have seen audiology departments shut down after children were wrongly given the all-clear over testing errors (Pictured: Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital)
Some areas of England have a notably lower diagnosis rate for baby hearing issues, a recent review revealed.
Health officials looked at the records of children born since 2018 over the past six months.
Some staff were found to be inadequately trained or supervised, and concerns were raised over a failure to properly follow clinical guidelines.
Proper analysis of the testing of children’s hearing was also cited as a cause for concern.
The National Deaf Children’s Society has expressed concerns that more deaf children could have been affected but were missed by the review because they were born before 2018.
The charity published a report which found that eight out of 10 paediatric audiology services find it difficult to review children given hearing aids.
Health officials looked at the records of children born since 2018 over the past six months (Pictured: Warrington Hospital)
Kirstie Denman, the mother of a baby whose deafness was missed, said: ‘They kept telling me everything was fine, we’ll review him again in a few months.
‘I practically had to beg for hearing tests. I knew something was just not right.’
There are estimated to be around 50,000 death children in the UK and three deaf babies born each day.
An NHS spokesperson said: ‘Following serious concerns highlighted in Scotland, NHS England proactively set up a national paediatric hearing service review, initially looking at four trusts that have been identified as requiring improvements in their children’s hearing services.
‘It’s vital we get this right, which is why we are working closely with local teams, clinical experts, professional bodies and patient groups, including the National Children’s Deaf Society, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues and to find immediate and longer-term solutions.
‘Families that are affected are being contacted by their local hospital if their child needs their hearing reassessed.’
Northern Lincolnshire and Google NHS trust, which runs Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital and Scunthorpe hospital and Warrington and Halton NHS trust were contacted for comment.