Deep pockets, anyone?

22 04 2010

I have been very pleased with the progress of my cochlear implant to date and one question which I have been asked a number of times is why don’t I have two? In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) pays for cochlear implants, all assessments, aftercare, repairs and replacements. They certainly are expensive hearing devices. Here is some data I sourced from NICE with 2009 figures (in British pounds), which of course need to be slightly adjusted for local circumstances.

Cost of unilateral cochlear implant – children:
Multidisciplinary assessment meeting 3,024.72
Cochlear implant HRG CZ25 25,829.50
Device tuning, other adjustments and training: one appointment per week 9,732.74
Total 38,586.97
Cost of unilateral cochlear implant – adult:
Multidisciplinary assessment 4,267.38
Cochlear implant HRG CZ25 25,829.50
Device tuning, other adjustments and training: one appointment per week 5,319.60
Total 35,416.49
Costs of bilateral cochlear implant – children:
Multidisciplinary assessment 3,024.72
Implant cost * 22,955.00
Other theatre and inpatient costs: ** 3,075.80
Device tuning, other adjustments and training 9,732.74
Total 38,788.26
Costs of bilateral cochlear implant – adults:
Multidisciplinary assessment 4,267.38
Implant cost * 22,955.00
Other theatre and inpatient costs: ** 3,075.80
Device tuning, other adjustments and training 5,319.60
Total 35,617.78

* Based on average cost of NHS supply chain contract; the second implant system is not part of the NHS supply chain contract, 40% discount is assumed except for one implant where 50% discount has been negotiated.

** For bi-lateral implant procedures the additional cost of the procedure and implant should be subject to local negotiation. Current price based on information provided by a number of service providers.

Source: NICE

NICE has approved bilateral implantation in children since 2009. They only allow bilateral implantation in adults where there is an additional severe sight impairment. A lot of unilateral CI adults are very keen to have a second CI (wouldn’t you prefer to hear life in stereo rather than mono?). When the time comes and NICE approves bilateral CIs for adults, this is going to create a huge hole in NHS finances – their next consultation is due in February 2011.

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One response

22 04 2010
Ian Noon

Apparently, it’s the most expensive procedure provided on the NHS (read that somewhere ages ago…)

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