This afternoon representatives (Maria Mullane and Sym Gardiner) from 2ears2hear meet with Pat Tuohy and Phil Wysocki from the Ministry of Health. The meeting was forthright and frank.
Pat and Phil outlined where the Ministry is at on the issue of bilateral Cochlear Implants for children. They outlined that their efforts have been around baselining extra funding for the adult programme. They are now trying to get policy resource to look at the issue of bilateral Cochlear Implants for children which they agree is the next priority. They should know whether this resource is going to be available within the next six weeks. They have a meeting scheduled to decide if this policy work will be a priority and they have committed to let us know the outcome of this meeting within 6 weeks.
The Ministry is not yet convinced that bilateral Cochlear Implants make a big enough difference to justify the expenditure. The 2ears2hear team find this frustrating and we expressed this frustration. All the 2ears2hear team are parents who have already fronted for bilateral Cochlear Implants for their children. We all know first-hand the benefits to our own children. We see the last stragglers of countries around the world implementing bilateral Cochlear Implants for children as standard. And we see the flow (turning into a flood) of academic research showing bilateral Cochlear Implants are the optimal approach for children with profound hearing loss.
Over the next few weeks we will discuss and set up a number of activities to help convince the Ministry that bilateral Cochlear Implants need prioritising. We also need to ensure the political impetus is maintained. To that end, we will be focused on getting 1,000 signatures (currently at 900+) and proceed to present this to Parliament.
If you have yet to sign the petition, please pop over (click the picture below) and sign now.
And please share it with all your friends. This is an issue that can impact any new family.