Improving Deaf people’s access to mental health services

As many as two in three Deaf people in the UK struggle with mental health problems, but most find it too difficult to access psychological therapy.

Guidance for commissioners of primary care mental health services for deaf people from the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health (JCPMH) and Deaf health charity SignHealth, calls for improvement to deaf people’s access to mental health services.

Despite having poorer mental health than the rest of the population, the 60,000 people across the UK who use sign language as their main language often come up against barriers when seeking mental health services.

The guide’s recommendations for commissioners of primary mental health services could make a dramatic change to the mental health of many Deaf people.


Direct Referral of Adults with Hearing Difficulty to Audiology Services

New Direct Referral Guidance from BAA

Image source: BAA

This document is intended to guide the practice of those who make direct referral of adults with routine or complex hearing difficulties to Audiology services in the UK, primarily GPs.

Along with “Guidelines for Audiologists: Onward Referral of Adults with Hearing Difficulty Directly Referred to Audiology Services (2016) 1 ”, this document replaces the earlier guidelines (BAA 20092 , TTSA 19893,4 ) and has been approved by the Board of the British Academy of Audiology.

This document comprises a set of criteria which are contraindications for direct referral of adults with hearing difficulties to Audiology services for hearing assessment and rehabilitative treatment, either from Primary Care or via other intra-hospital Consultant pathways. Audiology services are expected to make reasonable efforts to make local GPs aware of this guidance and support their understanding of its application. The criteria have been written for all adults (age 18+), but local specifications regarding age range for direct referral should be adhered to.

A simple checklist has been included as an appendix, to summarise the criteria detailed in this document.

Read the full guidance here

New National Commissioning Framework for Hearing Loss Services launched

NHS England. Published online: 19 July 2016.

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Image source: NHS England

A new guide to help organisations responsible for planning and commissioning local hearing services for deaf people and those with diminishing hearing is launched by NHS England today (19 July).


The publication – following a key recommendation made in the Action Plan on Hearing Loss last year – has been produced with patient groups, services users, hearing loss charities and healthcare providers.

Many of the organisations and individuals involved will also attend the event to hear how the comprehensive framework will address support for people whose hearing loss is affecting their ability to fully participate in society.

The framework establishes what effective commissioning looks like for CCGs by:

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Image source: NHS England
  1. Ensuring CCGS are  supported  when choosing good value services  for their local populations
  2. The needs of local people are met by high quality integrated care
  3. Addressing access and outcome inequalities
  4. Improving patient choice when it comes to selecting services
  5. Contracting and monitoring outcomes and referrals from all providers to ensure consistency

It also features a range of local commissioning model case studies, feedback on what matters from those experiencing hearing issues and the principles required before commissioning.

Read the full report here

Primary Care Physicians as Partners in Hearing Health Care

Weinstein, B. Hearing Journal. July 2016. 69(7) pp. 20,21


Older adults with multimorbidity often consult their primary care providers (PCPs), making these health care professionals some of the most important stakeholders in the quality enterprise. There is a movement afoot in geriatric medicine for a single point of contact to whom the patient will turn, for example, with a simple question: “Who shall I see so I can remain connected to my family and friends?”

A recent report by Desai et al. revealed that rather than “shopping” for a health care provider based on cost, older adults prefer to proceed with referrals from their doctors (JAMA 2016;315[17]:1874). When considering health care provider recommendations, patients put a premium on the relationship with their doctor and the emphasis placed on outcomes. Out-of-pocket expenditures are oftentimes considered a secondary concern

Read the full article here

Making choice work well in NHS adult hearing services: resources for commissioners


A new series of guides have been published to help the NHS increase access, quality and choice in adult hearing services whilst making the most of available resources.

The guides, published this week, advise how stakeholders in NHS hearing care can work together to deliver the goals in the Five Year Forward View – including putting patients first, improving access and follow-up, delivering more care out-of-hospital and making better use of limited resources.

View the Guidance for NHS Commissioners by clicking on the image below: