asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many adults and children were provided with cochlear implants in 2002; and how the figures compare with those in the previous five years; and
Whether they will publish figures giving the number of cochlear implants funded by primary care trusts in 2002 for (a) adults and (b) children; and
What information they have on primary care trusts delaying assessments and refusing funding for recommended cochlear implants for children becoming or born deaf; and
What steps they are taking to inform primary care trusts and general practitioners of the benefits of cochlear implants.
The following table gives details of the number of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) in which cochlear implants were fitted in England for adults and children in the year ending March 2002 and the four preceding years.
|Year Ending 31 March||Children aged 0–17||Adults aged 18+|
An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider. The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes or be admitted several times within the year.
Figures in this table have not yet been adjusted for shortfalls in data.
Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health.
While the Department of Health does not collect figures centrally on the number of cases where funding for cochlear implants is delayed or refused, we understand that the Institute for Hearing Research surveys specialised centres each year to find the number of cases for which funding is declined. The last such survey was at the end of 2001. Primary care trusts came into existence in October 2001 and full-year figures for the services they fund are not yet available.