Waxing lyrical for patients
Herefordshire patients have told Healthwatch their problems accessing ear wax removal services at GP practices.
Healthwatch asked the clinical commissioning group (CCG), who plan county health services, why patients now can’t get this procedure at their GP surgery.
There are many reasons; there is often no clinical need for this invasive procedure which is best managed within a normal hygiene routine, it requires specialist skills, GPs are experiencing increased demand, and GP practices can choose whether to deliver it.
Currently the hospital ENT department receive £200,000 of funding from the CCG to provide microsuction for patients who meet clinical criteria. The CCG and WVT hospital are reviewing this service and considering providing a county community service for patients alongside guidance on self-care to prevent wax build up.
At present patients with specific clinical needs are referred to the hospital ENT service. Patients with lower needs are directed to self-care advice from pharmacies or choosing self-funded private ear wax removal services.
Healthwatch are pleased the CCG are addressing this issue and await details of when and where the new microsuction service will be available and how patients can access it. Healthwatch will monitor the CCG’s plans and update the public when information is available.
Meanwhile, people can ask their pharmacist how to safely manage ear wax build-up and read information on NHS choices: www.nhs.uk/conditions/earwax-build-up
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About Healthwatch Herefordshire
Healthwatch Herefordshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Herefordshire. The organisation will help to shape and improve local health and social care in our community. Healthwatch Herefordshire is part of the Healthwatch national network, established by the Government to ensure local patients and users have a greater input to shaping local services.