If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the final NICE guidance on cochlear implants to be published… well, you can now exhale.
Despite a last minute attempt to derail the whole thing and months / years of deliberation, NICE’s final guidance was published this morning. This confirms what was said in the most recent draft – in very basic terms, that cochlear implants in one or both ears should be offered as an option to all profoundly deaf children who get no benefit from hearing aids.
Primary care trusts now have three months to get with it and we’ll be keeping an eye out for any stalling. It is the most expensive operation they provide so I imagine some people may be choking in their Bran Flakes this morning.
As someone who used to be resolutely opposed to cochlear implants when I was growing up, I feel quite strange for feeling pleased and relieved that this is finally out there. Cochlear implants are not for everyone – but for those who have carefully weighed up the pros and cons and been given impartial information, at least they can now pursue this option. NDCS research suggests that deaf young people who were implanted as a child are positive about the decision made on their behalf by their parents.
Of course, I wouldn’t be living up to my nickname of angry deaf man if I didn’t muse on how much money was spent by the South Central and the Yorkshire and the Humber specialised commissioning groups to hire a lawyer to delay and try and derail the whole thing – money that could be spent on providing a better service to deaf children and young people in their areas. If I was living in these areas, I’d be tempted to fire off a letter to these guys…
But otherwise… a good news day!