Published: 26 February 2013
Audiology Waiting Times
Published: 27 November 2012
Waiting Times - Audiology
Published: 28 August 2012
Audiology Waiting Times
16 November 2011 - Audiology NHS Board Return Template to include One Stops - January 2011 [70kb] has been produced for NHS Boards to ensure that data is correctly submitted to ISD.
16 September 2011 - Audiology Waiting Times Monthly Data Submission Guidance [78kb] has been produced for NHS Boards to ensure that data is correctly submitted to ISD.
12 September 2011 - Following the Audiology consultation, the feedback from respondents and summary of changes to the publication of Audiology waiting times can be found in the Summary Feedback report [140KB].
4 August 2011 - A correction to the methodology for counting audiology waits will be applied to the August 2011 Publication. This affects the calculation of the number waiting over a given time (e.g. over 12 weeks).
Audiology data is collected in single week groupings where a wait of 12 weeks represents 84 - 90 days.
All aggregated data will now be reported as "x weeks and over". For example, patients with waits between 84 and 90 days inclusive will now be included in the category waiting '12 weeks and over', where previously they were excluded from the cohort of 'over 12 weeks'.
This change will show a rise in numbers waiting over specified time periods (6 weeks, 9 weeks, 12 weeks, 18 weeks) when comparing the revised data with previously released data. Trend data will be revised in line with the new methodology.
17 June 2011 - We are currently consulting on changes to the audiology publication to introduce a new table to report waiting times for one-stop audiology services. The consultation also includes significant changes to the way data are presented. The consultation document is available here [130kb]. The closing date for receipt of responses is Friday 8th July 2011.
In 2007, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing stated that
"A whole journey waiting time target of 18 weeks from general practitioner referral to treatment ... by December 2011"
with Audiology services to be measured as part of this '18 weeks: The Referral to Treatment Standard'.
Information relating to audiology waiting times in NHS Boards has been collected nationally since April 2007 with a revised dataset introduced in December 2008. The following information is provided in an aggregated form by local heads of audiology services. ISD does not obtain the detailed, patient based, information for audiology that it does for other hospital specialties, however systems are being developed to report progress towards the 18 weeks referral to treatment standard. Audiology data is under development and ISD is actively working with NHS Boards to improve the consistency, completeness and timeliness of these data.
Currently, audiology systems are unable to measure the whole patient journey from referral to treatment. ISD and the Scottish Government are working with NHS Boards to update systems in order to capture this information. A pragmatic interim solution has been to measure and report the best available information about the different 'stages' of the journey:
- for a first contact appointment
- from assessment to fitting of hearing aid(s)
- from assessment to treatment (where treatment is other than fitting of a hearing aid)
- from fitting of hearing aid(s) to review (this final stage is not subject to the 18 weeks referral to treatment standard)
Please see the Data Definitions section for more information.
These 'stages' of the journey are an indicator of progress towards the 18 weeks referral to treatment standard.
ISD has been working with Audiology and Information leads in NHS Boards in support of the submission of these data. As with all official statistics, ISD take data quality issues into account when determining fitness for publication.
Therefore, in preparation for this release, NHS Boards have been asked for confirmation of key statistics to be published, plus a description of any data quality issues
This information has been shared with selected staff in Scottish Government Health Directorate, as part of data quality assessment.
The sections below describe in more detail aspects of the quality of the data submitted to ISD from NHS Boards.
ISD has collected Audiology data since 2007. There has been extensive collaboration between ISD and key stakeholders, the Scottish Government and NHS Boards, in agreeing definitions, methodology and reporting. This led to a revised dataset being introduced at the end of 2008 that would provide more informative measures of waits. However, work is still ongoing to improve data quality.
Audiology NHS Board Return Template to include One Stops - January 2011 [70kb] should be used by NHS Boards when submitting data to ISD.
Submission guidance for data providers
Audiology Waiting Times Monthly Data Submission Guidance [20kb] should be used to ensure data submitted to ISD is in the correct format. NHS Boards please note that no field should be left blank; if your Board does have a one-stop service but does not provide data at this time please use the code "SP". Also please note the weeks groupings: 1 week = 7-13 days, 2 weeks = 14-20 days, etc.
Currently, the computer systems used by audiologists to make appointments, record test results and to order hearing aids do not (in most cases) link to their hospital patient administration (PAS) systems. As a result, ISD does not obtain the detailed, patient based, information required to validate fully the data received from NHS Boards.
The two manufacturers of the audiology systems used in Scotland are currently working to provide a reporting facility that will allow the audiology heads of service to produce the waiting times and numbers data they have agreed to submit to ISD direct from their systems. However, this may not be fully compliant with "New Ways" standards and definitions and may still not be comparable between NHS Boards since the systems are set up individually to reflect local ways of working.
Specific data quality issues
Details about known data quality issues with data submitted to ISD can be found in Appendix 2 of the Publication Full Report for Audiology Waiting Times.Other data quality issues may exist. In terms of impact, the vast majority of the data has been judged fit-for-purpose for publication. It is inevitable that any new data collection system will require time to settle before NHS Boards' data are recorded nationally with full consistency. NHS Boards and ISD are actively working to resolve the quality issues that are understood to impact on data reliability.