22/11/2011

Hear! Hear! Poots Backs Deaf Kids

A cool £1m has been allocated to a programme that could help restore hearing to 23 children in Northern Ireland.

Edwin Poots, the Stormont Health Minister has also announced that a 'scoping study' is to investigate the quality of audiology services overall.

The Minister (pictured) made the announcements at a recent conference on Quality in Audiology Services at the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick saying: "There are approximately a quarter of a million people in Northern Ireland who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment.

"That is a significant figure and the impact that hearing loss can have on a person's quality of life is profound.

"That is why it is so significant that I have been able to secure £1m to progress the bilateral cochlear implant programme through the [Executive] October Monitoring Round.
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"This programme could help restore hearing to 23 children in Northern Ireland. That is a truly worthwhile way to use this funding and it will undoubtedly enhance the quality of life of those children involved," he enthused.

The conference was organised by Action on Hearing Loss and focussed on improving the quality of services for those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

The Minister continued: "A guiding principle in our health service is to protect and improve the quality of our services. In doing this, we must remember that the patient is at the heart of everything we do.

"We need to see how we can further improve the patient experience and look at ways we can deliver services from a patient perspective.

"With that in mind, I have instructed officials in my Department to have the Health and Social Care Board instigate, as a first step, a scoping study, which will look at where we are now in terms of audiology quality and make recommendations about where we want to go.

"This is really more about reorganising ourselves in the way we work, rather than increasing complexity or seeking further resources," he concluded.

(BMcC/GK)

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