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Disgrace of 18 months waiting times for hearing tests in RCT

RCT L

Residents in the Cwm Taf Health Board area are facing a wait of up to eighteen months for hearing tests.
The disgraceful figures were revealed by RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats following a freedom of information request . RCT Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says it is unacceptable
"The request was submitted following feedback from a number of residents who had attended the local audiology clinic and been told they needed a hearing test but that the wait was more than 70 weeks.
"The actual statement from Cwm Taf puts the wait at 73 weeks, so people being put on the list now face not being given an appointment until November 2015.
"It is yet another example of how Wales is lagging behind the rest of the UK under the Welsh Labour Government. Diagnostic waiting times are unacceptably high across a whole range of specialities. In the case of people who are suffering from an impairment of hearing then it may not be life threatening, but it does affect their quality of life.
"The people of Rhondda Cynon Taff are being sold short by their elected representatives. Why is this being allowed to continue?
"We are constantly at or near the bottom of the league table when it comes to ambulance response times, with figures regularly showing less than 50% of category A emergency calls being responded to within 8 minutes.
"On top of that people in Rhondda and Taff Ely have been sold out by the Health Board who rolled over and agreed to the South Wales Programme decision to remove services from the Royal Glamorgan. They have been let down constantly by the Labour Government."
For the end of April 2014, figures show:
• 27% of Welsh patients wait over 18 weeks to start treatment in Wales, while just 6.2% are waiting the same period in England
• 12% of Welsh patients wait longer than 4 hours in A&E, while in England only 4.2% wait longer than 4 hours
• 30% of Welsh patients wait over 8 weeks for diagnostic tests, whilst in England just 2% wait over 6 weeks

A spokeswoman for Cwm Taf

A spokeswoman for Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “We sincerely apologise to anyone having to wait this length of time for re-assessments. We have recently allocated additional resource to audiology and the department has been working tirelessly to reduce waits whilst also prioritising those in greatest need. New patients however are seen for hearing testing within 4 weeks and hearing aids are fitted within a total time of 14 weeks.

“The department has achieved high scores in both the all-Wales paediatric and adult standards, and are one of the best performing organisations in Wales against these quality targets from the Welsh Government. For example, in a recent external audit against paediatric quality standards the department scored 96.73%. This is also supported by our patient satisfaction surveys which are completed every year.

“The department is committed to improving care for patients and embarked on a recent plan to involve our 3rd sector partners and patients in delivering care. We plan to collaborate with Wales Council for Deaf People (based in Pontypridd), a patient support group and a lip-reading teacher to help patients come to terms with their hearing loss and give the best advice on how to use and maintain them. It is hoped that these group sessions will take place in late Summer.

Clearly there is more to be done in bringing down waiting times and we are fully committed to making that happen as soon as possible.”

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