§ Gillian Merron
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to ensure that digital hearing aids can be provided by every NHS trust in the UK; and when the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust will receive them; 435W
(2) when he estimates that health authorities in all areas of England will be able to provide digital hearing aids. 
§ Jacqui Smith
We announced on 24 December 2001 that a further £20 million would be made available in 2002–03 for the modernising hearing aid services project. This will mean that by April 2003 at least 50 NHS sites will be fitting digital hearing aids and at least a further 15 will have the necessary training and equipment in place to fit digital hearing aids from 2003–04. Decisions on which sites will become involved in the project next year will be made shortly.
The research evaluation of the modernising hearing aid services project is continuing and a final report is due at the end of this year. Decisions about further roll-out will be taken in the light of this evaluation.