"Supply of batteries for Hearing Aid"

About: Crosshouse Hospital / Audiology

(as the patient),

I wear Phonak Cros Hearing Aid which requires two different kinds of batteries.

When I was first fitted with this hearing aid I was given several packets of these batteries from the Audiologist and was told that further supplies of these batteries could be obtained from the Hearing Aid Clinic at Crosshouse Hospital. Batteries can only be obtained between the hours of 10 am and 12 noon and from 2 – 4 pm. Monday to Friday.

I work Monday to Friday from 8 am till 4 pm in Kilmarnock and I am unable to get these batteries myself so my daughter who works at Crosshouse Hospital very kindly gets them for me.

On her first visit to get these batteries she was handed one packet of each of these batteries. There are six batteries in a pack. This hearing aid needs its batteries changed every three days and as I constantly wear this hearing aid you can see how long a packet lasts. When she asked if she could have more than one packet she was informed that was all I was allowed but re-iterated I could get more at any time in the future. So she has to keep constantly go back and forth on my behalf which is not very satisfactory. I do not understand why I cannot get an adequate supply in the first place. These batteries are well dated and I would use them well before their expiry date and they are only suitable for hearing aids.

She called at the clinic to obtain another supply and the girl only handed her the one type of battery. When my daughter challenged this she replied that this was all I got the last time. My daughter tried to explain that this was not the case as the hearing aid required two different kinds of batteries. This person said that the book which is used to record the issue of batteries (which my daughter gave her) had only been recorded as one type of battery having been issued the last time. My daughter tried to explain perhaps this was the case but I still needed two different kinds of batteries but she kept on re-iterating that the book only recorded one type the last time they were issued. Eventually my daughter was given two packets of the correct batteries.

Surely this system has to be reviewed as to the best practice of issuing batteries - “ two packets at a time”. What a waste of my daughter’s time going back and forward to collect batteries.

On a previous visit, my Daughter was advised that there is a drop in clinic at local libraries and was given a leaflet with the details. Unfortunately though, this clinic is also only available in working hours so is of no use to myself.

Perhaps the people who make these rules do not realise that some people who wear hearing aids are still working and are not able to come to collect these batteries at the specified times and to only be given two packets at a time!

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran We are preparing to make a change

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Dear Arran,

I am very sorry this does seem really inconvenient for you and your daughter. I have had a long chat with the head of audiology and he has explained a great deal to me. It seems there are other alternatives that can help you in this situation as the service has been set up with various patients’ situations in mind.

I don’t know if you are aware that you can order the batteries by post. In order to do that, you should send your book with a note requesting more batteries. You should order them when you have half a packet left of each battery type. It will possibly need a turnaround of at least 5 days as all post from the hospital is second class. There does seem to be an issue because your book has not been kept up to date and I think we need to do this so you get the correct batteries in future. The audiology service may look at registering the up to date battery requirements on their patient administration system too, this would help in the situations where books have not been updated.

The batteries are not issued in great quantities for various practical reasons. If larger stock was held by the hospital, there would be issues of storage, stock rotation and ensuring they are as fresh as possible to maximise the effectiveness and the life of the battery. I am informed that there are very large numbers of batteries supplied every week.

The service manger would like to look at your situation and see if there is anything else we can do to help you. To do that we would need some details from you. If you wish to let me know your name and date of birth, he will look into this further for you. If you do want to contact me, you can email me on eunice.goodwin@aapct.scot.nhs.uk or phone me on 01563 826222.

I am sure this can be made easier for you than you are currently experiencing.

Best wishes,

Eunice

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Arran,

Thank you for contacting me off-line and for our interesting chat. You asked a very poignant question when you said ‘do we think that everyone who wears a hearing aid is older and retired’. If they were, I suppose the opening times would not be such a big problem. I was delighted to hear that you can order your batteries via the clinical email box audiology.service@nhs.net. I hope this helps your situation. The manager is reviewing your battery needs and we await his response.

I will come back to you as soon as I have anything further for you.

Best wishes

Eunice

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Update posted by Arran (the patient)

Hi Eunice

Firstly can I say how much I appreciate all the time you have spent in trying to sort out my original complaint regarding accessing hear aid batteries and I thank you most sincerely for everything you have done but regarding the ordering of hearing aid batteries by e mail - my daughter very kindly e mailed the Audiology department last Tuesday 10th November 2015 requesting hearing aid batteries to be posted out to me. I know she gave the specific details of the batteries which I required and on my return home on Friday evening (13th) I discovered that I had indeed received them. But to my dismay when I opened the envelope they were only two packets of the one type of battery which I need. My hearing aids require two different kinds of hearing aids which is well documented on my file at Crosshouse. Even if my file was incorrect the email they received documented exactly what I required. So once again I am left very frustrated and obviously without the necessary batteries which in turn means my daughter will have to go to the Audiology Department on Monday to obtain the missing batteries as I cannot attend at the allotted times. One step forward three back!!!!!

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Arran,

Firstly, you are most welcome, I am just sorry it does not seem to have helped. We still seem to have an issue about accessing the appropriate batteries in a way that is suitable for you. I suspect that if it is not suitable for you, it will not be for others. I had pinned high hopes on the fact there was an email facility.

I will pass this to the service lead and I am sure they will have a look into the process to see what has happened here. I will get back to you as soon as possible with any information and I am sorry that we did not solve this for you first time round.

Best wishes

Eunice

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