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Sheffield Children’s hearing service receives prestigious accreditation

Audiology team
05 August 2016

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has been praised by the National Deaf Children’s Society for becoming the first in Yorkshire to receive prestigious accreditation for its entire paediatric audiology service.

The Trust’s audiology team has achieved IQIPS (Improving Quality in Physiological Services) status. This badge of quality shows they are meeting standards set by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and providing deaf children with the very best care.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of only 19 paediatric audiology services, out of 134 across the country, to achieve IQIPS accreditation. Nowhere else in Yorkshire is accredited for the full range of audiology services.

An outstanding service

Claire Wheeler, whose son is deaf and has used the audiology services for ten years, said: “The staff always go over and above to provide a really outstanding service, so I’m not surprised they have received this award.

“When my son was first diagnosed, it was hard to take in, but the audiology team was so supportive and reassuring. It was a tough time and they gave us so much advice, guiding us through all the different support available.

“I’ve been able to pass their advice on to other families through the Sheffield Deaf Children’s Society, so they are helping even more people than they realise. I can’t praise them enough!”

The audiology team had to submit evidence about their facilities, patient experiences, safety and service quality to achieve accreditation. Four assessors then visited over a three day period to judge the service first-hand.

Committed to excellence

Teresa Loxley, Paediatric Audiology Service Manager at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “Although it is not mandatory to be an accredited service, we have always strived to provide a first class service to all the patients and their families and it is fantastic that this accreditation is proving the excellence we’re committed to.”

The Trust signed up to IQIPS voluntarily to show that it provides the highest standard of care. Paediatric audiology services are no longer independently assessed for quality and safety unless they are IQIPS accredited.

The previous mandatory inspection scheme was abolished in 2012, despite NHS reports showing that a third of audiology services were missing government targets and failing deaf children. The National Deaf Children’s Society is campaigning to make it mandatory for all children’s audiology services to be IQIPS accredited.

Good audiology services vital for deaf children

Alison Lawson, Regional Director for the National Deaf Children’s Society in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Children learn and socialise through hearing, so good audiology services can be vital to a deaf child’s success in life.

“This accreditation will come as a great comfort to parents of deaf children in Sheffield who, until now, have had no way of knowing if the audiology services their child uses are fit for purpose.

“I hope other audiology services across Yorkshire and the Humber will follow Sheffield’s lead and demonstrate their quality by becoming IQIPS accredited.”

‘Listen Up’ campaign

Paul Stennett, Chief Executive of UKAS, added: “Many congratulations to everyone on the audiology team. This accreditation reassures patients that the audiology services at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust are of the highest quality.

“I am also delighted that a solely-paediatric audiology service has achieved this recognition, as it advances the aims of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s ‘Listen Up!‘ campaign.”

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