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Sheffield Children's Hospital wins audiology accreditation

Published Date: 13 Jun 2016

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust is the first of its kind in Yorkshire, and one of only a handful across the UK, to receive a prestigious accreditation for its paediatric audiology service.

The Trust’s audiology team has achieved IQIPS (Improving Quality in Physiological Services) status. This badge of quality shows they are meeting standards set by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and providing deaf children with the very best care. 

Claire Wheeler, whose son is deaf and has used the audiology services for 10 years, said: “The staff always go over and above to provide a really outstanding service, so I’m not surprised they have received this award. When my son was first diagnosed, it was hard to take in, but the audiology team was so supportive and reassuring. I’ve been able to pass their advice on to other families through the Sheffield Deaf Children’s Society, so they are helping even more people than they realise.”

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust is one of only 19 paediatric audiology services, out of 134 across the country, to achieve IQIPS accreditation. Nowhere else in Yorkshire is accredited for the full range of audiology services.

Alison Lawson, our Regional Director in Yorkshire, said: “Children learn and socialise through hearing, so good audiology services can be vital to a deaf child’s success in life. This accreditation will come as a great comfort to parents of deaf children in Sheffield who, until now, had no way of knowing if the audiology services they rely on are fit for purpose. I hope services across Yorkshire follow Sheffield’s lead and demonstrate their quality by becoming IQIPS accredited.”

The audiology team had to submit evidence about their facilities, patient experiences, safety and service quality to achieve accreditation. Four assessors then visited over a three day period to judge the service first-hand. 

Teresa Loxley, Paediatric Audiology Service Manager at Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “Although it is not mandatory to be an accredited service, we have always strived to provide a first class service to all the patients and their families, and it is fantastic that this accreditation is proving the excellence we’re committed to.”

The Trust signed up to IQIPS voluntarily to show that it provides the best care; paediatric audiology services are not independently assessed for quality and safety unless they join IQIPS. Mandatory inspections were abolished in 2012, despite NHS reports showing that a third of audiology services were missing government targets and failing deaf children - so we're campaigning for IQIPS to be mandatory for all children's audiology services.

Paul Stennett, Chief Executive of UKAS, added: “Many congratulations to everyone on the audiology team. This accreditation reassures patients that the audiology services at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust are of the highest quality. I am also delighted that a solely-paediatric audiology service has achieved this recognition, as it advances the aims of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Listen Up campaign.”

To find out more about our campaign to make IQIPS mandatory for children's audiology services, go to www.ndcs.org.uk/listenup.