HC Deb 29 October 1956 vol 558 cc1059-60
39. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Health the reason for the delay in the supply of the Medresco hearing aid from the time of recommendation for the provision of the aid and its receipt by the applicant ; and what are the prospects for an early issue of the transistor type.

Mr. Turton

Over the country as a whole there is little delay, but a few centres cannot offer immediate appointments in all cases. This may be due to the volume of work and inability to increase staff or accommodation. I hope the clinical trials of the transistor aid, which must precede the ordering of larger quantities, will take place about the end of the year.

Mr. Evans

In view of the long time that this service has been in operation, is it not rather surprising that in some areas the period of waiting from the date of application for the aid and the examination of the patient to delivery is as much as six months? Is the Minister also aware that only recently I sent him a case in which the period of waiting was even longer than that? Can he give us some sort of indication about how far it is possible to speed up the service? Will these transistor aids be reserved first of all for children of school age?

Mr. Turton

With regard to the first supplementary question, the position is very satisfactory when compared with that of a few years ago. Tremendous progress has been made. Out of 66 centres, at 58 the delay from the date of application is four months or less. It is true that the hon. Member has referred to me a case dealing with King's College Hospital, where there are peculiar difficulties owing to lack of staff and accommodation and a great volume of work. We are doing our best to improve the service even more.

With regard to the second supplementary question, when the transistor aid is available very young deaf children will receive priority.