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Correction to Written Parliamentary Questions 90063, 97759, 117196 and 117198

Statement made on 9 November 2021

Statement UIN HCWS380


I would like to inform the House that a written answer I gave on 24 September 2020, Official Report 90063 (and subsequent to that, answers 97759, 117196 and 117198), to the hon. Member for Romford and the hon. Member for Scunthorpe was incomplete.

In 2018 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidance on Hearing loss in adults which advises against ear wax syringing due to its associated risks. However, I recognise that by incorrectly implying that ear wax syringing is solely an enhanced service this could have been interpreted to mean that necessary and clinically appropriate ear wax removal should not be free at the point of use on the NHS.

GP practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax and to prevent its build up. If, however, a GP practice considers removal clinically necessary, ear irrigation or microsuction (as clinically appropriate) should either be undertaken at the practice (if they have the expertise and equipment), or the patient should be referred to an appropriate local NHS service.

Local commissioners are responsible for arranging for the provision of medical services to the extent they consider necessary to meet the reasonable needs of the people for whom they are responsible. Therefore commissioners should ensure that there is appropriate access to ear wax removal services, where these are necessary and clinically appropriate for a patient, which are free at the point of use.