Services review after failures left children with hearing difficulties

More than 150 young people were left with significant hearing difficulties due to failings in the standard of tests.

Services review after failures left children with hearing difficulties iStock
Humza Yousaf said he wants to make sure that hearing services are fit for purpose across Scotland.

A review of hearing services provided to children and adults at Scottish health boards is to be carried out following “unacceptable failures”.

It comes after more than 150 children were left with significant hearing difficulties due to failings in the standard of tests carried out by NHS Lothian.

The Scottish Government has announced that an independent chair will be appointed to oversee the creation of a National Audiology Review Group.

A report published in December last year outlined a series of errors in treatment provided to children by Paediatric Audiology in NHS Lothian. 

An audit of the health board’s services found significant failures in 155 of the 1113 patients treated between 2009 and 2018 which led to children being identified as deaf years later than they should have.

NHS Lothian apologised following the publication of the report, with the board escalated to stage three of the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework for paediatric audiology performance and service delivery.

The group being established will provide recommendations for a national plan for the service.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf insisted his aim is to ensure hearing services across the country are “fit for purpose”.

“Following the unacceptable failures that were highlighted in paediatric audiology in NHS Lothian, I want to make sure our hearing services are fit for purpose across Scotland and this means ensuring any wider issues are identified and rectified,” said Yousaf.

“The first step of this is to appoint an independent chair, a process which will be undertaken as quickly as possible to provide the necessary leadership and oversight for this important piece of work.

“I will provide a further update detailing the remit of the review, its membership and timetable for reporting once an appointment has been made.”