The modernisation of hearing aid services tried to address these areas as well as modernise the patient journey. Scotland began the modernisation of its audiology services in 2003 by investing in new Digital Signal Processing (DSP) hearing aid technology, new infrastructure, information systems and training based around the patient care pathway.
However, whilst there was clarity around the patient pathway there was no clarity around appropriate quality standards by which the services could be audited or on which services could base a service improvement plan. One of the recommendations of the PHIS Report was that “NHS QIS would produce an agreed set of standards for audiology services and conduct an assessment of the service’s ability to meet these standards, taking into account established documents from voluntary bodies and professional organisations.”
In its response to this recommendation, NHS QIS indicated that it would not be possible to fulfil this within a timescale that all interested parties could agree to. It was then suggested that the work be undertaken by a sub-group of the Scottish Government’s Audiology Services Advisory Group following the NHS QIS standards development methodology and that NHS QIS would consequently quality assure the development process. This document has subsequently been developed by a multi-disciplinary project group comprising representatives from the Audiology profession, the voluntary sector, higher education, UK health departments, senior NHS management and others.