Angry pensioner's new crusade

A DISGRUNTLED pensioner is today hoping to set up a website to encourage others to vent their anger about delays for hearing aids.Bob Wood, of Ganges Lane, in Shotley Gate, has been waiting for 72 weeks for a digital hearing aid and has been told it will be another two months until he is likely to get one.

A DISGRUNTLED pensioner is today hoping to set up a website to encourage others to vent their anger about delays for hearing aids.

Bob Wood, of Ganges Lane, in Shotley Gate, has been waiting for 72 weeks for a digital hearing aid and has been told it will be another two months until he is likely to get one.

The 70-year-old is now considering setting up his own website in a bid to find others across the country with similar problems.

Last week The Evening Star reported that Ron Bloom, a Second World War veteran, was forced to spend £2,000 on hearing aids after waiting for two years for the health service to provide one.


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Mr Wood first sought help a year and a half ago and although he is not profoundly deaf, he has to have the television volume up high which can disturb the neighbours.

He said: “I am thinking of creating this website where people can write about their experiences and if enough people write in, it will give this some leverage. It will help the fight the excesses and incompetence of the service.

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“I'm fed up with waiting. Had they worked in the private sector, they would have been sacked long ago.”

Suffolk Primary Care Trust today said it is hoped that by March 2008, everyone across the county will be treated within 18 weeks.

War veteran Angus Andrews, 76, of Mead Drive, Kesgrave, had to wait for so long for a digital hearing aid that he decided to shell out £4,000 to get them privately.

He was first issued with a hearing aid in 1976. In 2006, he visited Ipswich Hospital and was told by staff that he would be put on the urgent list for a new digital hearing aid. A year later when he still had not received it, he told them it was waste of time and asked to be taken off the list.

Mr Andrews, who served in the Second World War, said: “My hearing has deteriorated very considerably over recent years. I am now 87 years old and I would obviously like to be able to converse easily with other people.

“I had to buy two hearing aids worth £2,000 each as there didn't seem to be any prospect of early help from the NHS.”

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Caroline Tuohy, director of commissioning and performance at Suffolk PCT, said: “We understand that there have been some delays with people receiving hearing aids in Suffolk and plans are in place to improve this situation. The PCT board has agreed to invest an extra £400,000 in audiology services over the next few months. Our aim is that by March 2008 all people across the county are treated within 18 weeks.

“All patients requesting a digital hearing aid would have been assessed against their most recent hearing aid test, to work out whether digital technology would prove more effective for them and they would have been written to, and advised of the next steps.

“If unsuccessful patients believed their circumstances had changed since their last hearing test, the advice would have been to discuss this with their GP, who could tell them whether they might now benefit and refer them on to the Trust accordingly.

“We haven't been contacted directly by Mr Andrews or Mr Wood, but we would be happy to speak with them further if they wished to contact us and talk things through.”

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