HSE apologises for failures in paediatric audiology services

49 children affected by failures which related to one audiologist who no longer works in Mayo/Roscommon area

Of the 995 cases examined, 49 children have been found to be affected. Photograph: iStock

Of the 995 cases examined, 49 children have been found to be affected. Photograph: iStock

 

The HSE has apologised for failures identified in a review of paediatric audiology services in Mayo and Roscommon.

The HSE carried out a review of services between April 2011 and February 2015 following concerns raised by the assistant national clinical lead in audiology. It said the concerns related to one audiologist who no longer works in the audiology services.

Of the 995 cases examined, 49 children have been found to be affected. Thirteen children were re-referred into the service following concerns and were retested and identified as having a hearing loss.

Sixteen children with hearing aids received hearing aid management that deviated significantly from recommendations set out in the National Audiology Review group Report (2011). Twenty children who were recalled and retested were identified with a new hearing loss.

Tony Canavan, chief officer of Community Healthcare West said “on behalf of the HSE, I would like to offer a sincere apology for the failures identified”.

“I want to acknowledge the anxiety that this has caused to the children and their families. Parents of the children affected have been invited to meet with a senior manager and a senior audiologist to discuss the findings of this report and be updated on their child’s care,” he said.

The HSE said the 49 children affected are all currently receiving or have already received the appropriate care.

“Our priority now is to bring the outcome of the audit to the attention of the parents involved and to provide them an opportunity to have any questions they might have answered,” a statement from the HSE said. “To this end, the review report will be shared with the families affected today.”

Dr Gary Norman, HSE National Clinical Lead for Audiology said it is offering individual management care plans and support to the families of those affected.

“We know that identifying hearing loss late, or the ineffective management of hearing aids, can cause children problems with their speech and language development, behaviour, as well as affect their academic ability and social skills,” he said.

“Many of the issues identified in this look back have been or are currently being addressed to minimise the chances of such an event recurring in the Community Healthcare West.”

The HSE said a number of the recommendations contained in the review have already been implemented and is working towards implementing the remainder as soon as possible.