HC Deb 20 February 1995 vol 255 cc57-8W
Mr. Worthington

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is the average cost of the cochlear implant operations carried out for children at Crosshouse hospital in the current year; and what will be the marginal cost of further operations in the current year;

(2) how many profoundly deaf children there are in Scotland in each age group; and what percentage of them is assessed as likely to benefit from cochlear implants;

(3) pursuant to his answer of 10 February, concerning cochlear implants, Official Report, columns 449–50, what he has to add to his answer in relation to the case of Gillian Graham;

(4) what steps he has taken to inform all doctors and health centres in Scotland about the availability of cochlear implant operations at Crosshouse hospital, Kilmarnock.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The average cost of a paediatric cochlear implant operation is £28,725 in 1994–95. The cost of the additional operation purchased in the current financial year was £17,960.

Information is not yet available on the numbers of profoundly deaf children in Scotland and those who might benefit from cochlear implants but this is being collected as part of the on-going needs assessment. Information on the range of all national services, including cochlear implantation, is issued by the national services division of the Common Services Agency.

As my noble and learned Friend the Minister of State explained in his letter to the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie of 26 January, Crosshouse hospital hopes to provide Gillian Graham's operation in the spring.

Mr. Worthington

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many children in Scotland are in the process of being assessed for cochlear implants;

(2) how many adults in Scotland are in the process of being assessed for cochlear implants;

(3) what plans he has to fund cochlear implants in Scotland on the same basis of contractual referral as in England and Wales;

(4) if financial restraints have prevented any child in Scotland from receiving a cochlear implant at an age that the surgeon would consider optimal;

(5) what medical advice he has received in respect of the relationship between the age of the child and the benefit from cochlear implants for children between the ages of four and seven years;

(6) what assessment he has made of the importance of time as a factor affecting the efficacy of cochlear implants for adults; and what account he takes of this in allocating resources.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

There are currently nine paediatric patients and 14 adult patients undergoing assessment at Crosshouse hospital, Kilmarnock and five adult patients undergoing assessment at the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh. Assessment of individual patients is a matter for clinical judgment.

Cochlear implantation is a national specialist service in Scotland and the allocation of resources is determined through negotiations between the purchaser—national services division of the Common Services Agency—and the provider units. Activity levels for paediatric cochlear implantation in 1994–95 were agreed with North Ayrshire and Arran NHS trust at the beginning of the financial year and funding was made available to the trust in accordance with this. Future funding arrangements for cochlear implantation will be reviewed in the light of a forthcoming national needs assessment.

The initial findings of the Medical Research Council's evaluation of the national cochlear implant programme suggest that implantation by about the age of seven has produced positive initial outcomes.