10 Jul 2015

Australia's Sneaky government threatens hearing for babies. Privatise hearing when its the best in the world. Why? The mighty dollar!

Fears for deaf babies under govt plan

Parents fear care for deaf babies will suffer if government-funded hearing services are sold off.

The government has investigated privatising Australian Hearing but has not released a scoping study the finance department did last year.
Aussie Deaf Kids chief executive Ann Porter told a Senate committee on Friday discovering your newborn was deaf was incredibly challenging and would be more stressful without the support of Australian Hearing.
"I can't tell you how difficult it is to absorb," she said.
"It just leaves you rudderless."
Advocacy group Parents of Deaf Children put in a freedom of information request for the privatisation study but was told most of it was confidential.
The government's May budget deferred the privatisation plans to allow for more community consultation.
At the moment, care for deaf babies in Australia is among the best in the world.
Newborns have their hearing tested before being discharged from hospital and can be given a hearing aid within two weeks, with all services and equipment funded by the government through Australian hearing.
Ms Porter says many mothers end up on anti-depressants after their children's diagnosis.
She's worried privatisation would fragment the system and leave stressed parents with inadequate support.
Deafness Forum of Australia adviser Margaret Dewberry said the private market was untested, producing significant risks for access and quality of care.
Private providers motivated by profits could centralise services, disadvantaging rural and remote patients, or scrap services or equipment deemed expensive or challenging, she said.
Without a sole provider, the treatment process would likely slow down and patients would fall through the gaps.
Australian Hearing told the committee patients were fitted with better devices than they would be in the UK or NZ, at a good price to the government thanks to the organisation's buying power.

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