Digital Hearing Aids

Health written question – answered on 26th May 2005.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) average, (b) maximum and (c) target waiting time for (i) audiology appointments and (ii) the fitting of digital hearing aids were in the last period for which figures are available.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services)

Median waiting times for ear, nose and throat (ENT) and audiological medicine are shown in the table. Data on waiting times for the fitting of digital hearing aids are not centrally collected.

For all specialties, the maximum waiting time for a first out-patient appointment with a consultant, following general practitioner referral, is 17 weeks. By the end of 2005, this will be reduced to a maximum of 13 weeks.

By 2008, the maximum wait will be just 18 weeks from referral to start of treatment. This includes waits for outpatient consultation, diagnostic tests and treatment.

Main specialty Median waiting time in days
120—ENT 75.0
310—Audiological medicine 32.5


1. Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls (i.e., the data is ungrossed).

2. A finished in-year admission is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider, excluding admissions beginning before 1 April at the start of the datayear. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

3. Care is needed when analysing HES data by specialty, or by groups of specialties (such as acute). Trusts have different ways of managing specialties and attributing codes, so it is better to analyse by specific diagnoses, operations or other recorded information.

4. Time waited statistics from hospital episode statistics (HES) are not the same as the published waiting list statistics. HES provides counts and time waited for all patients admitted to hospital within a given period, whereas the published waiting list statistics count those waiting for treatment on a specific date and how long they have been on the waiting list. Also, HES calculates the time waited as the difference between the admission and decision to admit dates. Unlike published waiting list statistics, this is not adjusted for self-deferrals or periods of medical/social suspension.


HES, Health and Social Care Information Centre.

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