6th August: From Council member John Day who represented the BSA at a ‘technical’ meeting with the North Staffordshire CCG on 23rd July at Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Update 6th August: From Council member John Day who represented the BSA at a ‘technical’ meeting with the North Staffordshire CCG on 23rd July at Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The meeting had been arranged at the request of some of the stakeholder organisations including the BSA. The purpose of the meeting was to have discussions to clarify the process and to examine the evidence and scoring applied by the CCG for this intervention. As we know the intervention being considered is fitting hearing aids to adults with mild and moderate hearing loss. The CCG have used a ‘modified Portsmouth Scorecard’ which assigns points for several factors in order to guide commissioner decisions on funding of interventions. The organisations represented at the meeting were the BSA, BAA, Action on Hearing Loss, NCHA, DeafVibe, DeafLinks, and University of North Staffs Audiology Service. There were several representatives from the CCG and their communication support arm present. Despite our requests, the detailed scoring of the intervention against the scorecard factors was not provided in advance but was circulated as hard copies during the meeting. A few days before the meeting the CCG requested and was provided with extensive additional material compiled by Action on Hearing Loss to which the BSA and others had made a contribution.
At the meeting the temperature was hot and there were attitudes to match, with debate over those factors/criteria subject to contention. For some factors the intervention scored maximum points so we did not dwell. However, for the remainder, and despite the provision of new evidence there was no agreement on scoring and dismay over the scores assigned by the CCG. We were also advised of a change in the CCG’s prioritisation framework process as described in a new version of the associated document (2.1) tabled at the meeting.
Following the meeting and based upon the disclosed scoring we were then in a position to prepare a more comprehensive response by the required deadline. The BSA response was submitted on 31st July and is attached for your information. Our response was a collective effort within the BSA and we were able to draw on expert knowledge from clinical and research professionals. On this occasion, the respective stakeholder organisations provided individual responses to reflect their particular focus/interests. However, there was some collaboration between parties and I think the individual responses complement each other very well. Indeed, overall the collaborative effort from the different stakeholder groups remains a positive to take from the process.
Aside from the provision of further evidence and challenge to the CCG over use of evidence, scoring and the prioritisation scorecard (technical matters) there has also been a public engagement process run by the CCG that has seen surveys completed. I understand that the response rate has been very high compared to others that have occurred previously in the locality. We were advised at the meeting that a final CCG Board decision is not anticipated until October.
In common with other organisations the BSA has serious concerns over the process and conduct of the CCG in its engagement with stakeholder organisations. We have already submitted one Freedom of Information (FOI) request and may need to follow this up. Our efforts are continuing, including in collaboration with others. Further updates will be provided in due course and I remain happy to receive comments or respond to questions from members on this important matter. I encourage members to monitor this site for updates and the Action on Hearing Loss website for on-going campaigning/media initiatives.