War veteran is too old to be priority

SECOND World War veteran Bert Woodberry is fighting a new battle with Ipswich Hospital today after being told he is too old to be a priority for a new hearing aid.

SECOND World War veteran Bert Woodberry is fighting a new battle with Ipswich Hospital today after being told he is too old to be a priority for a new hearing aid.

Hadleigh pensioner Mr Woodberry is outraged that he is unlikely to get an updated digital hearing aid in the near future and instead still has to use the old-fashioned variety which is much less sophisticated.

Despite the fact that the 84-year-old partially lost his hearing as a result of fighting in the second world war, he has been told that too many people are waiting for them.

And the hospital said that when it comes to clinical priority children and young people come first, although everyone who needs one will get one eventually.

The 84-year-old grandfather-of-two, said: “My current hearing aid does work but there is a lot of background noise which makes it terrible.

“I have to turn it off when I walk down the street otherwise the cars are really loud.

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“And I think that although people talk about honouring war heroes they don't do it. I served in the army for five-and-a-half years and it doesn't make any difference.”

And his wife, Pat, said she thought the decision was a sign of “ageism” because older people were not being made a priority when it came to getting new equipment.

The 76-year-old said: "I am so upset he has been treated like this.

“He fought for his country which is partly why he is now completely deaf in one ear and has only partial hearing it the other.

“We feel he deserves a new hearing aid and it does make us feel bitter.”

The couple, who live in Bradfield Avenue, said they had initially asked to be put on the list for a digital hearing aid last year.

Because Mr Woodberry had had a relatively new hearing aid they were told they would have to wait one year.

But when they returned last week they were told too many people were waiting for the new aids so he would not be able to get one in the near future.

Mrs Woodberry added: “It is such a shame because it would make a real difference to his quality of life.”

Weblink: www.ipswichhospital.nhs.uk

www.rnid.org.uk

Ipswich Hospital's response

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We're very sorry to hear about any distress caused.

“The issues with hearing aids is we have to place a clinical priority on who needs it the most and obviously children and young people are given the priority when it comes to hearing loss.

“We have been introducing digital hearing aids for everyone who needs them and that is an ongoing project which will cover everyone in time.

“Because they are all specially fitted we have to manage within the resources we have so some people have to wait a little longer.

“At the moment we can not tell anyone when they will have it fitted because demand has outstripped supply, but they will have one.”

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