Update: 30th December 2020
In light of the current situation within trusts, the latest advice from PHE is that Normal NHSP protocols and referral pathways, should be followed where possible maintaining business as usual.
Where there is significant disruption to audiology services, referrals from newborn hearing screening should be classed as ‘clinically urgent’ and should be managed using the Newborn hearing screening programme:
Technical guidance for maintaining business continuity in screening and the management of audiology referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic – (December 2020), available in the national IT system resources tile and here.
The British Academy of Audiology (BAA) and British Society of Audiology (BSA) are pleased to inform members that NHS England has published and circulated the Newborn Hearing Screening technical guidance during Covid-19 to Screening programme leads and Trusts.
Please note that a BAA/BSA working party contributed to the document but ownership of final content is retained by NHS E. We know that some audiology services were identified as urgent/essential in the Prioritisation within the Community Health services document (2nd April) and we wish to support services to adapt practice to screen babies and be able to offer diagnostic follow up, for those identified as most clinically urgent, safely.
The Guidance should be read with a view to what is practicable within your local Trust and that variations on service delivery from that described in the document will need to occur. In the context of current lockdown guidance, there is clearly a balance to be considered of risk of transmission of Covid -19 and delivering services. It is expected that each local service would consult with their Central Clinical Advisory Groups on the assessment of risk and how to structure a service to minimise risk.
Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the situation, this version is currently the most up-to-date advice and therefore supersedes any previously issued guidance which may be circulating.
BAA and BSA are aware that there will be hospital/department variation on how our guidance is implemented. It is up to each individual Trust to decide how the guidance is administered and BAA and BSA are unable to influence this.
We are pleased to present a Rapid Review into Paediatric Audiology. Produced by a number of experts in the field in association with a number of bodies, this report details the current situation within Paediatric audiology and makes recommendations to NHS England on how best to ensure that services are meeting the needs of deaf children, from NHSP to transfer to adult services.
The main recommendations are:
1. There should be one national body responsible for oversight of the whole of paediatric audiology, from birth to the point of transfer to adult services. This should have clinical knowledge of audiology embedded into it and include oversight of newborn hearing screening, medical and scientific diagnostics, school screen, behavioural audiology, and hearing aid services for children and their families.
2. This body should then define; – clear operational standards for services delivering paediatric audiology, with clarity of responsibilities including working with other sectors across boundaries – specific targets for paediatric audiology services with reporting separate from the RTT and DM01 returns for adult audiology. – staff training requirements
3. There should be clear, joined up, commissioning of paediatric audiology services, with the newborn hearing screening programme payment unbundled, if possible, from the Maternity Payment Pathway and a realistic national tariff established for all procedures / pathways.
4. A quality assurance scheme such as IQIPS should be mandated but this scheme needs to offer both process and clinical level quality assurance to be more relevant to services.
We would encourage all members to read the report and share with their local networks.
Services should return to business as usual as soon as they are able to safely do so. If further disruptions are experienced through local or reintroduced lockdowns which impact service delivery, services should use the guidance detailed within the document ‘Newborn hearing screening programmes technical guidance and management of audiology referrals during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic (v0 5 21st April 2020).
When practical to do so refer to the ‘Newborn hearing screening programme guidance on the management of babies who have not completed the screen and audiological assessment pathway during the COVID-19 outbreak (v2 5th June 2020)’ to restore services.
PHE has released a letter for audiology departments to use for screen referrals during Covid-19 if they are unable to offer an assessment appointment within 4 weeks due to service/clinic closures.
The Clinical Group has decided to meet every two weeks for the duration of the pandemic. They believe it is important to document their meetings and share the discussion points with their colleagues. Meeting notes listed below: