"Respected medical figure" appointed as Independent chair to oversee review of audiology in Scotland following NHS Lothian failings


professional standards

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The former President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Professor Jacqueline Taylor, has been appointed chair of a national review of audiology implemented by the Scottish Government following a damning report on failings in paediatric care by NHS Lothian.

This latest action, called for by the Scottish Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, followed the delivery at the end of 2021 of a report by the British Academy of Audiology, the professional association ommissioned to study complaints about the diagnosis and care of a child with hearing difficulties. The BAA delivered a comprehensive document revealing almost ten years of deviation from professional standards by Lothian, with long-term consequences for 155 children.

The exposure of Lothian's failings is having a clamorous impact. Parents of deaf children allegedly affected by the mismanagement of their cases are now suing that Scottish Health Board.

Despite 36 recommendations being put forward in the report and accepted by Lothian, Health Secretary Yousaf labelled the failings “unacceptable”, demanding a national review of audiology “to make sure our hearing services are fit for purpose across Scotland, and this means ensuring any wider issues are identified and rectified.”

Legal action

Lothian is reportedly being sued for compensation by more than a dozen families. The Edinburgh Evening News reported Jonathan Howat, senior lawyer at Thompsons Solicitors, who is acting for a number of the affected children, as saying: “Families I represent have been treated disgracefully by NHS Lothian, as a result of delays in identifying and treating hearing impairments, the lives of many children have been made significantly more challenging.” “Our legal action against the health board will make sure that these children and their families are properly compensated.”

National review of audiology

The aim of the review, says Scotland's Government, is to provide recommendations for a national plan for the service. Its full remit, membership, and timetable for reporting is now being finalised with the Chair.

Professor Jacqueline Taylor MB ChB, FRCP (Glasg) Hon FRCPI, Hon FFPHM, DSc, Hon FRCS CSSL, Hon FRCS RCS Eng, graduated from the University of Glasgow medical school, trained and dually accredited in General Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine and was appointed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1997. She has been Clinical Director, Associate Medical Director and Clinical Quality Lead for Geriatric Medicine.

Although she does not have a background in the specific area of audiology, Professor Taylor is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer and was awarded an Honorary Professorship of University of Glasgow in 2018. As President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow until the end of 2021, she led the College through the COVID 19 pandemic. Professor Taylor has a particular interest in training and education of healthcare professionals and delivery of multidisciplinary services.

"I look forward to working with this group over the coming months," said Prof. Taylor. "We expect to engage with the widest range of professionals and stakeholders in this area, identifying any gaps in provision but also learning from good practice.

“NHS Scotland provides some of the best healthcare treatment in the world, but where issues emerge it is important to understand what went wrong and how this can be rectified," Taylor continued.

"Unacceptable" failures in hearing care

Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf said: "I would like to thank Professor Taylor for agreeing to take on this important role which will help shape the future of audiology services in Scotland moving forward.

"Professor Taylor is one of the most respected medical figures in Scotland and I know that she will provide the necessary leadership and oversight for this vital work," Yousaf added.

Source: Scottish Government/Edinburgh Evening News