Monday, May 01, 2006

Access to work

I write this from a position of frustration, annoyance, etc.

Since last June I have been fighting with Access to Work to actually get the process completed and get what I am (1) entitled to under the scheme, and (2) get the equipment to help me out with my work.

I have a feeling with Access to Work, their main aim is to ensure that you don’t get the help to which they are charged with ensuring you should have. In my case it was trying to get them to give me hearing aids and a Phonak Smartlink system. I need hearing aids because after years of trying to get something I can hear properly with, I have failed to get the NHS to actually bother to give me hearing aids which I can truly hear with, not what their audiologist think I can hear with – that is a totally different entry in this blog to be done in the future.

It has taken me, so much work to get them to finally relent and agree to pay for the aids and the smartlink system. That took chasing up the NHS audiologist to write a letter to them and explain in very simple language that after years of trying to get me hearing aids that work, he couldn’t do it, he had to admit defeat that they couldn’t help me. That took 2/3 years of doing, 2/3 years of heartache trying to convince him that I couldn’t do it. It only changed when he saw an email I had written Access to Work that I was struggling a great deal at work, for him to accept what I had been saying for so long.

There was a sting in the tail though. Access to Work agreed to pay for the aids and the Smartlink system, but I would have to pay 30% of the cost of the aids, because they can be used in a social environment. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, and coming up with over £700 for aids which in my mind should really have been given to me via the NHS in the first place.

So I have been left with no choice, but to agree to pay out the money, thankfully I have people close that can help me out and I should now with luck get the new aids. I have a company who is going to come and fit them.

I have no idea what Phonak Savia will be like, but I understand that they will finally allow me to hear properly for the first time in what seems like an eternity for me. The only reason I had to change aids is because the ones that suited me were no longer made.

As of the 9th May, supposedly I shall have the new Phonak Savia’s fitted, and with the Phonak Smartlink system I will be able to much better communicate at work, not feel like I am missing out in meetings, reviews, etc, which has left me floundering a lot there.

The aids look like so

Phonak Savia

I did think of getting a colour other than beige, but with already having gold ear moulds, which seem to have made me a party trick in audiology departments and for people in the street, I think I don't wish to stick out anymore than I already do....

To me it just seems the whole governmental system is designed to do all it can to stop those who are entitled to help to get it, and then when they do admit that you are entitled to help, they try and pass the buck between departments, so none of them have to pay, trying to ensure that another department pays for the equipment/work, etc when it all comes out of the same overall budget anyway, so what gives.

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