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Has your child missed out on NHS hearing tests or treatments? Here’s how to take action

AuthorsFiona Tinsley

Has your child missed out on NHS hearing tests or treatments Heres how to take action

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has reported that systemic failings may have led to thousands of children having undiagnosed or misdiagnosed hearing issues.

Here, Legal Director and medical negligence law specialist Fiona Tinsley explains the report findings, which hospitals and Trusts are under review and what parents can do to take action if their child has suffered as a result.


Why are children’s hearing issues going undiagnosed?

With children’s hearing services — like so much of the NHS — being stretched, many children haven’t been receiving the attention they need.

According to the report, permanent deafness in children has decreased by 7% since 2019, while 39% of services failed to meet waiting list targets for babies and children (who were not referred via new-born hearing screening). This suggests that many hearing issues are not being identified.

A key factor behind this is staffing levels, with the number of permanent paediatric audiology staff falling by around 20% since 2019. 80% of the services surveyed reported that they were struggling to review children already fitted with hearing aids, with children being seen an average 62.5 days late. Other treatments and surgeries are experiencing significant delays, including for grommets (178 days on average) and wax removal.


Which hospitals and Trusts are under review?

According to The Times, an internal NHS report has identified five hospitals where staff were not following clinical guidelines around children’s hearing tests.

The five hospitals are:

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust

Many more hospitals and Trusts could still be affected, including Croydon University Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital, which have launched patient recalls due to mistakes.


What to do if your child has been affected

It’s critical that hearing issues in children are identified early to aid their development.

If your child has been negatively impacted by lack of screening, delayed treatment or improper diagnosis, our experienced medical negligence team is here to help guide you through the process.

We help clients to obtain positive remedies including financial compensation, accountability and justice. We work with families to understand the impact of the negligence physically, psychologically and financially.

If your case has sufficient prospects of success, we will seek the maximum amount of compensation we can on your behalf — both in terms of the injuries sustained and past and future financial loss (including treatment, equipment, care and educational needs, as well as the impact on future employment).

However, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between ‘poor service’ and an actionable negligence claim. Understanding the consequence of the failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is the key to establishing a case.

Examples of actionable negligence include an infant or child suffering deterioration in hearing, such as impairment or permanent hearing loss, speech and language difficulties and a significant negative impact on their quality of life, as a result of:

We can sensitively and thoroughly analyse your case under a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement to determine its strength and support you throughout every step of the legal process. We have close relationships with highly experienced ENT (ear, nose and throat) medical experts, who can advise on whether your claim can move forward.

Get in touch with me directly at or 0151 600 3078, or simply complete our contact form below.

Find out more about medical negligence and the process of pursuing a claim by reading our FAQs.

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