NHS Forth Valley hosted the 1st face-to-face Scottish Audiology Heads of Service meeting on 18th April 23, the first in more than 3 years.

Prior to Covid, this group would meet 3-4 times a year at Perth Royal Infirmary. However, since COVID-19, it was moved to online only.

In 2022, the Scottish Government requested a National Review of Audiology services. The final draft and recommendations for this work are due in June 2023. To start the improvement infrastructure needed, the NHS Forth Valley Audiology Service Manager had suggested we restart strategic face-to-face meetings and offered to host.

The meeting was held in the Forth Valley Sensory Centre, Camelon, where NHS Forth Valley Audiology runs specialist Paediatric clinics, including Universal Newborn Hearing Screening clinics (UNHS), and supports children with hearing loss.

The Agenda was busy, as well as discussing potential early recommendations, such as that for Auditory Brainstem Response Peer review, the group started national standardisation of ‘Types and timing’ of Audiology appointments, Standard Operating procedures, and shared good practice and emerging new patient pathways.

Of our territorial Health Boards, we had 13 leads from Adult and Paediatric Audiology across Scotland, with another four joining us on TEAMs including NHS Orkney and Oban. We had a presentation from GN Resound on the day regarding their new digital solutions in hearing aid technology, who kindly provided refreshments.

Feedback from the meeting was so good, that NHS Forth Valley will now host all face-to-face events for the group in the future.

Stephanie, who took over as Audiology Services Manager in September 2022, commented ‘this has been such an important development for the Heads of Service Group. Over the next few years, this will allow us to meet challenges not just related to the National Review, but also with increasing demand for our services. This is a fantastic place to start action planning and creating a cohesive national approach to improving NHS Audiology Services in Scotland’.