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Prevalence of permanent childhood hearing impairment

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:172

Family friendly hearing seervices are needed in the United Kingdom

  1. Shamim Amis, specialist registrar obstetrics and gynaecology (,
  2. Dominic Byrne, writer and management consultant (
  1. Newham General Hospital, London E13 8SL
  2. 2 Stanstead Grove, London SE6 4UD
  3. TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia
  4. Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia 6001

    EDITOR—We are the parents of a baby with profound sensorineural deafness, and the article by Fortnum et al rang many bells.1 The absence of universal screening of newborn infants seems a national scandal to us. If it had been in place we would not have waited nearly a year to discover that our baby has profound deafness. A year is a long time to lose when the early years are critical to the development of language and speech. The family friendly culture and seamless collaboration aspired to in the pilot protocols for universal screening seem a long way off. Lack of urgency from health professionals, a system that designs delay into it rather than managing delay out, and no real focus on customers or families are the dominant characteristics of the health service we have encountered.

    Simple changes could make all the difference. Medical professionals are still dictating letters to secretaries and …

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