Deaf children in Bath are seeing their futures potentially jeopardised by understaffed audiology services in the South West, a new report by the National Deaf Children's Society suggests.
The charity's survey of children's audiology services found 36 per cent of services in the region had seen recent staffing reductions and 21 per cent were struggling to fill vacancies. These figures are significantly higher than when services were last surveyed in 2012. Since then, the government has replaced mandatory inspections of children's audiology services with a voluntary scheme known as IQIPS.
Jessica Reeves, Campaigns Manager at the National Deaf Children's Society, said: "There are more than 35,000 deaf children in England, and a good audiology service is a vital lifeline for them – but without mandatory inspections, this cannot be guaranteed. "Currently, thousands of families are relying on children's audiology services with no way of judging their quality. They have a right to know if their service is fit for purpose.
"We're calling on the Department of Health and NHS England to make IQIPS mandatory for all children's audiology services, to ensure deaf children get the support they need."