Calls for clarity on audiology review

Health Minister Simon Harris has been urged to clarify whether the review of the work of an audiologist at the centre of serious failings in the treatment of children in the West needs to be extended.

A review of paediatric audiology services in Mayo and Roscommon covering the period April 2011-February 2015 led to 995 children being recalled and retested.

Of those:

  • 13 children were re-referred into the service and identified as having a hearing loss;
  • 16 out of 188 children with hearing aids received hearing aid management that deviated significantly from recommendations set out in the National Audiology Review Group report;
  • 20 out of 995 children recalled and retested were identified with a new hearing loss.

While the HSE has apologised to those affected and said the audiologist in question “no longer works in the audiology services”, it has not said where else the individual worked in the State. Furthermore, while the review covered 2011-2015, it is understood the person worked there for up to a decade.

It did say the appropriate treatment has now been put in place for the children affected and that it is currently finalising plans to share full details of the outcome of the audit with the families.

The HSE admitted 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”.

Eugene Murphy, Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway, said: “If this review only covered the period from 2011 to 2015, what about the many other cases that this individual audiologist carried out if they were working in the Mayo/Roscommon area for over 10 years.

“I am calling on Minister (Simon) Harris to clarify whether the review will now be extended to cover the full period of time the audiologist was working in Mayo/Roscommon and also whether the review will be extended to other parts of the country, where this particular individual may also have worked.”


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