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Letter: The crisis of NHS ear wax removal services in England
"It is estimated that around 2.3 million people a year in the UK require their ear wax to be removed by a professional".
I am writing to support RNID’s ear wax campaign and share my personal experience of struggling to get ear wax removal.
It is estimated that around 2.3 million people a year in the UK require their ear wax to be removed by a professional. Ear wax buildup can cause painful and distressing symptoms – such as hearing loss, tinnitus and debilitating earache – yet RNID's new report highlights the horrifying reality that far too many people are unable to access this essential service on the NHS.
RNID's report shows that only 18 out of 40 Integrated Care Boards, the commissioners of most NHS services, are meeting public health guidelines by providing ear wax removal services for everyone in their area. 15 provide a limited service, or use restrictive criteria, and seven don't provide any service at all. This means thousands of people like me face avoidable hearing loss, tinnitus and earache because they can't get ear wax removed on the NHS.
It is unacceptable that people are facing long delays and costly private appointments because local Integrated Care Boards are not delivering.
RNID needs support. As someone who experiences ear wax buildup, I am joining RNID in calling on the Department of Health and Social Care for an urgent review of ear wax removal services for people who are failing to get the care they need on the NHS. The problem is certainly clear – people who need ear wax removal must be able to access this service on the NHS, regardless of where they live.
Tracey Levell, Leicester