I am appalled and immensely disappointed at the responses from some people regarding my obtaining a second cochlear implant on the NHS. I have been harassed and pestered to ‘tell all’, even after asking people to desist.
My personal information is exactly that – personal AND confidential. There is an issue of patient confidentiality here. How I got my cochlear implant funded, why I got it funded, and whether I met the criteria of my NHS Primary Care Trust or NICE guidelines, is my business and no one else’s. My personal case is not going to help you get funding for yours and is not up for discussion. I don’t make funding decisions so I have no idea how these decisions are made. Everybody is different, with a different set of circumstances and will present a different set of criteria.
I think it would be helpful to outline the appropriate framework if you are looking to go bilateral in the UK.
It’s no good going ‘I want one because I think two cochlear implants are better than one and loads of people say so’. There are a number of factors to carefully consider;
- Research your NHS PCT’s criteria
- Consider your PCT’s funding capacity
- Examine the NICE guidelines TA166 – remember these are only guidelines and your PCT can exercise discretion in how closely they follow these guidelines (or not)
- Present a list of valid reasons for two cochlear implants over any other option such as a cochlear implant / hearing combination. Useful information, explaining the benefits of being bilateral, can be found at 2ears2hear and Rationale for Bilateral Cochlear Implantation in Children and Adults
- Present a cost / benefit analysis to your PCT
- Take a copy of research studies demonstrating successful bilateral outcomes to your review meeting
- Get your surgeon and cochlear implant team on your side
- Consider your own personal medical and hearing history
To those who apply for NHS funding for a second cochlear implant, I respectfully ask that you please focus on the correct agencies to vent your frustration and find your way forward with them, i.e. your PCT, rather than expect me to pull a rabbit out of a hat for you. My case is mine, your case is yours. I wish you luck.