I mentioned a while back that our requests for information from the Department of Health on cuts to audiology training have not been terribly successful, if the letter we received a few weeks back from the Department was anything to go by.
Sadly, things have not improved. Last week, we got replies to some parliamentary questions that Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary had raised on the National Deaf Children’s Society’s behalf. Norman was trying to tease out more information about the proposed new audiology training programme, which I fear is leading to cuts by the backdoor.
To give one example, Norman asked when the first new paediatric audiologists will graduate under the new audiology training programme. After all, the Government should not be cutting existing places unless new graduates are ready to roll out quickly, surely?
The answer? “Working with stakeholders, we are developing a range of education and training programmes which will have a focus on audiology… These will encompass the needs of both adult and paediatric services.”
I might take that as a “er… don’t know, guv”.
The answers to the other questions weren’t much better. Indeed, the only information of use they provided was on the number of audiology training places over the past three years.
It all makes for a very frustrating campaign where the Department seems determined to provide no reassurance or answers to anything. However, it’s not all bad news. With over 460 people now having contacted their MP about our Hear for the Future campaign, the Department has started to realise it can’t ignore these concerns forever. Civil servants at the Department have just agreed to come and meet with us. Hopefully, we’ll then finally get some answers.
In the meantime, your help in keeping the pressure on the Department is still needed. If you haven’t already, please contact your MP, using our special thingybob on NDCS’s website which makes it easy as pie to do this. I reckon if over 500 people do the action, the Government will be even more proactive in trying to address our concerns…