A report has been released by the Government following a 12 month long review of the Hearing Services Program.
The HSP, as it is best known, affects 100,000 of our constituents. The HSP aims to reduce the impact of hearing loss by providing free hearing devices and rehabilitation services to groups of people who are vulnerable and in need of assistance.
A review of the HSP was undertaken by an Expert Panel appointed by the Government last year. The report, released on 30 September lists a suite of recommended changes to the HSP.
You can read and download the Report of the Independent Review of the Hearing Services Program publishedSep2021
“Our Report’s recommendations include extending eligibility under the Hearing Services Program to people who are Low Income Health Care Card holders from 26 years of age to Age Pension-eligibility age; Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people from 26 years of age; and permanent residents of Aged Care Homes” the Expert Panel said.
“Service providers should be required to offer a more holistic assessment of clients’ communication and hearing needs and deliver a broader range of services to better address those needs.
“Consumer choice should be enhanced by providing people with hearing loss greater information on the services that may assist them, the benefits of those services and their costs.
“Fully subsidised hearing devices should incorporate a greater range of new technologies.”
The federal minister responsible for hearing released a statement:
“The Expert Panel, through its recommendations, has aimed to optimise hearing outcomes for clients including through improving the equity, effectiveness, governance and sustainability of the Program”, Dr David Gillespie said.
“I note some recommendations are complex and would have significant impacts for consumers, the professional workforce and industry. These will require further consultation. Given other recommendations would have significant financial impacts or require legislative changes, it might take longer for the Government to consider and formally respond to these recommendations.
Deafness Forum has been working with its member organisations to promote the interests of the people who receive services under the Hearing Services Program. These members are Deafness Council Western Australia, Hearing Matters Australia, Parents of Deaf Children, UsherKids Australia, Hear For You, and Aussie Deaf Kids.
You can read about our opinions in the submission that we made to the Government. Click this link to open the document.
[Image: photograph of Dr David Gillsepie, the federal government minister responsible for Hearing Health]