Recent media reports have been highlighting how the lack of HSE funding is leading to a delay in children with profound deafness getting fitted with a second device.
A report in the Irish Examiner newspaper says that despite cochlear ear implants for both ears being international best practice for children with profound deafness, the HSE does not fund the double procedures.
The Report says “Beaumont Hospital has sought funds since 2009. It provided a business case for the bilateral operation — which involves implanting an electronic device in both ears — in October. The cost of €36,000 to €40,000 for a double implant is not being provided, with patients only given implants for one ear.
While the unilateral implant greatly improves hearing for profoundly deaf children, the lack of a bilateral service means hearing is still problematic — with the issue risking speech and language, education, and social inclusion difficulties. As a result, hundreds of children are losing out at a time when the impact of their conditions can be reduced.”
Since the cochlear programme commenced in Beaumont Hospital 17 years ago, 360 children have received cochlear implants, with 10 receiving bilateral implants due to specific conditions. Currently, there are 350 children awaiting a second implant.
A HSE spokesperson in the media report said the service was considering Beaumont’s case alongside other funding applications for next year’s health service budget breakdown, to be confirmed in January.
It’s terrible to think that children are missing out through a lack of funding, considering the money that has been wasted in this country over the past decade. Hopefully the government will look at this as a matter of urgency.