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Hearing loss supporters picket Dundee City Council

Impending closure of Dundee’s Hear to Help service will result in a significant loss to the local community

Tuesday 12 September

EditorSeptember 12 at 07:00

Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Dundee Hear to Help service will close on September 30. Dismayed service users and volunteers have decided to gather outside Dundee’s City Chambers on Monday evening, before a council meeting, to protest the closure. The group say Hear to Help makes a direct contribution to the everyday lives of more than 900 people in Dundee and are calling for the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership to save the service.
The charity has managed to piece together funding to keep the service going on a quarterly basis during 2017 after having to ‘take a break’ from applying to a charitable trust. They say £17,000 is required to secure Hear to Help in Dundee for a full year. Dozens of applications to charitable trust funds have proven unsuccessful and members say Dundee’s own health and social care partnership has so far rejected an approach for help. According to Delia Henry, director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, the service’s closure will prove to be a “devastating blow” for those who live with hearing loss. She said: “Our service users and volunteers, many of whom have hearing loss themselves, have been very frustrated this year as we have only been able to commit to running Hear to Help for three months at a time. “We approached Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership in January for advice about how we could apply for funding, but were not even given the courtesy of a direct response. “We found out via correspondence forwarded from local councillors in June the deeply disappointing news that we were not being awarded funding, despite independent cost benefit analysis showing our service saves the public purse more that £70,000 for a spend of less than £50,000 across Tayside each year. “The closure of Hear to Help, which can often be the difference between someone persevering with their NHS hearing aids or giving up and leaving them in a drawer, will be a devastating blow for many elderly people with hearing loss who depend on our friendly, locally delivered service in communities across the city.”
A spokesperson for Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We work very closely with our partners in the audiology service in NHS Tayside. The service continues to build an accessible and responsive service for hearing aid users in Dundee and across Tayside. “All hearing aid users in Tayside have open access to audiology services for life once they have been fitted with an NHS hearing aid. “A battery collection service is available at Kings Cross Health and Community Care Centre in Dundee and a further 47 locations across Tayside including community centres, GP surgeries, mobile libraries, local hospitals and infirmaries. “Dundee City Council is also working closely with NHS Tayside Audiology service to introduce battery collection sites at a further six community centres and libraries. “Patients can also request batteries and hearing aid tubing by post, by telephone, email or text message directly from the Audiology Service.”
Source: The Courier


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