Over the last six months there has been a flurry of children’s audiology services recognised for their quality. The IQIPS accreditation scheme inspects services and decides whether they meet set standards. This is great news for deaf children using the newly accredited services in Nottingham, Plymouth, Sussex and Bolton. But, like the recent snow, they aren’t evenly spread across the country.
Every audiology service in Devon and Cornwall has now been inspected and judged as good quality – an incredible result! However, this does highlight a stark contrast with other regions that have few or no accredited services. The North East is the only region in England to have no accredited services.
We want families of deaf children across the country to be confident that their local service provides good quality support. But, despite the recent flurry of accreditations, fewer than 1 in 5 services are accredited. The scheme has been open to audiology services for the last six years, yet in that time fewer than 20% of services have been independently inspected.
We would like to see the government and NHS England support our calls for the inspection and accreditation process to be mandatory. Without this, an even spread of high quality audiology services across England seems unlikely and many families of deaf children will be left in the dark about their local service.