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Parliament: Regulation of Hearing Aid Dispensing

healthprofcouncil.gifIt appears that the Hearing Aid Council is being abolished next year, and its work merged with the Health Professions Council.

The Hearing Aid Council describes itself as:

We are the Government body that regulates the private hearing aid market. To sell a hearing aid in the UK you must be registered with us and meet our standards of education, training and conduct. You can complain to us if you are worried someone may not meet our standards or is selling hearing aids illegally.

With the HPC describing itself as:

We are a regulator, and we were set up to protect the public. To do this, we keep a register of health professionals who meet our standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. We currently register over 180,000 professionals from 13 professions.

We only know all this, because it has appeared in Hansard.

Ben Bradshaw (Minister of State, Department of Health; Exeter, Labour)

[snip]

I accept that it is not ideal that this House did not have the opportunity to consider this provision in its deliberations in Committee. I hope, however, that hon. Members will forgive the fact that this is a late addition to the Bill in recognition of the very real benefits that this measure will bring for patients and consumers. First, this will provide improved protection for the hearing impaired and simplify the regulatory framework for hearing aid dispensers. Although the council has done a fantastic job over the past 40 years, it is operating under legislation that is increasingly outdated with gaps in consumer protection. The Health Professions Council, established in 2001, has modern and comprehensive legislation that will provide for a much more complete service to patients and consumers. As a multi-professional statutory regulator, it can provide greater resources while charging considerably smaller fees to the profession. Secondly, and importantly, the Hearing Aid Council itself, the Health Professions Council, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists are all fully supportive of this move, and are working together to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible.

[snip]

A question. Did anyone actually bother to ask deaf people, since they are the ultimate consumers (and who's interests are supposedly been protected)? Has a single deaf person been involved in this consultation, and more to the point do they even know its happening, nevermind the pros and cons? Biggest deaf organisation bullshit being involved doesn't automatically wash at GOD, no-one pulls the wool over our eyes here. Personally, private hearing aid dispensing doesn't interest me, however structures / power does.

The proposed idea might even be a good idea, but are deaf people even in a position to even judge that? If there is a move away from specialist services, will there be enough recognition of getting deaf people involved in the profession? I'm talking role model argument here ....

Ask the Readers:
What do you think (that's if you even care)? Did you even know this was happening?

Source:
Hansard
They Work For You

Comments (3)

Even private sector hearing aid dispensers have relatively little idea of what these changes mean ... and they have offices to run, families to feed ...

this change refers to hearing aid dispensing - it does not refer to changes in the deaf community. typically hearing aids are for partial hearing loss.. in 90% of cases... who or why should deaf people be informed specifically because of a change in the way an industry is governed....

deaf people are not special citizens or a separate community...

true no one knows what will happen after the change over and those who have invested years of their life / money in training to provide these serivces for those who are hard of hearing are really the only people who should be consulted

Hello! I'm profoundly deaf and wear hearing aids. Know plenty of other people who are the same. Leave your assumptions at the door please.

I've not mentioned "deaf community" in my post above. I said "deaf people" and used this in the widest generic sense possible (note: I did not use a capital D).

I care about how I get my hearing aids and the attitudes of the people in the profession. We've all got our very bad audiology stories.

Since this is government regulation, the DED legally requires public bodies to involve disabled people, and specifically those impacted. The government is a public body, it needs to comply with the law. If you don't like the law, go and complain to parliament; until then the law is the law. We're all meant to obey it, a trade off for living in a society.

Perhaps I should contact the HPC, asking them to give me a copy of their SES, and how they complied with the law by consulting with deaf people? Same goes for the DoH, since it introduced these regs.

As for those who invested years of their life etc, you mean people who have made money deaf people in the course of their work. cf. audiological devices market report, etc. Sure, but its always about the patient and their best interests. That's why you're there, don't lose sight of it.

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