Phillip E. Gander email@example.com
Tinnitus referral pathways within the National Health Service in England: a survey of their perceived effectiveness among audiology staff
Gander, Phillip E.; Hoare, Derek J.; Collins, Luke C.; Smith, Sandra; Hall, Deborah A.
Derek J. Hoare Derek.firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke C. Collins email@example.com
Sandra Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah A. Hall Deborah.Hall@nottingham.ac.uk
Background: In the UK, audiology services deliver the majority of tinnitus patient care, but not all patients experience the same level of service. In 2009, the Department of Health released a Good Practice Guide to inform commissioners about key aspects of a quality tinnitus service in order to promote equity of tinnitus patient care in UK primary care, audiology, and in specialist multi-disciplinary centres. The purpose of the present research was to evaluate utilisation and opinions on pathways for the referral of tinnitus patients to and from English Audiology Departments.
Methods: We surveyed all audiology staff engaged in providing tinnitus services across England. A 36-item questionnaire was mailed to 351 clinicians in all 163 National Health Service (NHS) Trusts identified as having a tinnitus service. 138 clinicians responded. The results presented here describe experiences and opinions of the current patient pathways to and from the audiology tinnitus service.
Results: The most common referral pathway was from general practice to a hospital-based Ear, Nose & Throat department and from there to a hospital-based audiology department (64%). Respondents considered the NHS tinnitus referral process to be generally effective (67%), but expressed needs for improving GP referral and patients’ access to services. ‘Open access’ to the audiology clinic was rarely an option for patients (9%), nor was the opportunity to access specialist counselling provided by clinical psychology (35%). To decrease the number of inappropriate referrals, 40% of respondents called for greater awareness by referrers about the audiology tinnitus service.
Conclusions: Respondents in the present survey were generally satisfied with the tinnitus referral system. However, they highlighted some potential targets for service improvement including 1] faster and more appropriate referral from GPs, to be achieved through education on tinnitus referral criteria, 2] improved access to psychological services through audiologist training, and 3] ongoing support from tinnitus support groups, national charities, or open access to the tinnitus clinic for existing patients.
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Publication Date||Jul 6, 2011|
|Journal||BMC Health Services Research|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Institution Citation||Gander, P. E., Hoare, D. J., Collins, L. C., Smith, S., & Hall, D. A. (2011). Tinnitus referral pathways within the National Health Service in England: a survey of their perceived effectiveness among audiology staff. BMC Health Services Research, 11(162), doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-162|
|Copyright Statement||Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0|
Gander PE, Hoare DJ, Collins L, Smith S & Hall DA_2011_BMC Health Services Research.pdf
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0