We’ve been taking a look at the manifestos to see what the parties are pledging to do to support deaf children. Each of the manifestos make a range of pledges in relation to health. But the bad news is that none of the manifestos contain any specific references to audiology services for deaf children. This blog sets out other, wider, changes that may impact on deaf children.
The Chief Executive of the NHS has said that the NHS needs £8 billion of funding in the next five years to make sure it can continue to meet patient’s needs. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green party have said that they will provide this funding. UKIP have pledged £3bn. Labour have said they will provide funding of at least £2.5bn. Many of the parties have been arguing with each other on how realistic their respective NHS spending pledges are.
How the NHS is funded will obviously have a knock on impact on audiology services. In an earlier blog, we mentioned there are increasing concerns over whether those audiology services are doing everything they should to ensure deaf children get the best possible support. NDCS’s Listen Up! campaign found that 1 in 3 audiology services were failing to meet basic government standards. On top of that, NDCS is increasingly being contacted by parents saying that they are noticing cutbacks in audiology ranging from having to wait long times for ear moulds or delays in diagnosis, to being denied funding for specialist auditory implants. Even small things, like offering coloured earmoulds are being cutback, even though this can really encourage deaf children to wear their hearing aids and make the most of their hearing.
Other things we spotted:
- All parties have pledged to ensure health and social care work more closely together, which could lead to better more joined up support for deaf children.
- Labour have said they will ensure there is a “sensible commissioning framework” in place but it’s not clear what this might mean in practice for audiology services.
- Both the Conservatives and the Green party say they will improve transparency. It’s not yet clear if this means that they will ensure that parents of deaf children have more information about the quality of audiology services.
- Labour have pledged to provide disabled people with a personal care plan, the option of personal budgets and a single named person to co-ordinate their care. It’s not yet clear if this will also apply to disabled children.
The above is a very general summary of the pledges and we’ve only highlighted those that we think are most directly relevant to deaf children. We’ve included links to the manifestos above if you’d like more information about what each of the parties are proposing.
Health is devolved to the administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so we haven’t covered pledges from parties in these nations in this blog. The below websites have more information on what these parties are pledging:
Don’t forget, if you want to find out more about what the parties are proposing, you can ask your prospective parliamentary candidates. They need your vote and hopefully will be responsive to any questions you might have! Ask your candidates what they know about deaf children and call on them to protect the services that they rely on in the next Parliament.