The latest UK and Irish hearing instrument data for Q4 2020 shows significant NHS recovery in the final months of the year, despite a second national lockdown in December. Q4 saw 354,762 units sold to the NHS, which was only 8.8% down on Q4 the previous year.
The overall public sector year as a whole was down 39.7% on last year, showing the effects of the pandemic on uptake.
The UK private market continued the recovery in Q4, albeit at a slower rate than the public sector; with 96,397 units sold, an increase on the 95,931 units sold in Q3.
The full year was down 17.9% in the private sector, with 20% of the Q2 shortfall from the first lockdown recovered in the second half of 2020.
Ireland was unable to maintain its recovery with units falling behind last year by 7.6%, reflecting an earlier slowdown in December. For 2020 as a whole, units were down 11.2% on 2019. Only 6% of the Q2 shortfall recovered in the second half of 2020.
Figures show an increased use of custom aids in the private market in the second half of 2020, which may be the result of the use of masks, requiring specialised instruments.
BIHIMA Chairman, Paul Surridge, said: “2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year for the world, not just our industry. We are delighted the second half of 2020 showed a swift recovery following the first lock down, and our hope is that this second lockdown won’t see the same industry impact as Q2 did. We are now better established with remote care and industry guidelines to service patients safely and can look ahead to 2021 with hopes for a continued recovery.”
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