National Audiology Review Group minutes: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group 25 October 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Jackie Taylor (JT), Chair
  • Robert Farley (RF), NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Jim Harrigan (JH), Scottish Heads of Audiology Group (HoA)
  • Susan Campbell (SC), Universal New-born Hearing Screening Programme
  • Kathryn Lewis (KL), British Academy of Audiology (BAA)
  • Angela Bonomy (AB), Sense Scotland
  • Crystal Rolfe (CR), Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)
  • Lyn Hutchison (LH), National Specialist and Screening Services Directorate (NSS NSD)
  • Agnes Allen (AA), Scottish Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP)
  • Mark Ballard (MB), National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
  • Claire Benton (CB), British Academy of Audiology (BAA)
  • Adrian Carragher (AC), Scottish Heads of Audiology Group (HoA)
  • Catriona Johnson (CJ), National Services Scotland, National Services Division (NSS NSD)
  • Sandra McDougall (SM), Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)


  • John Day (JD), Clinical Director of Audiology, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, North Wales
  • Shailaja Kottapalli (SK), The British Association of Paediatricians in Audiology Executive Committee (BAPA)
  • Sam Lear (SL), National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
  • Donna Corrigan (DC), British Society of Audiology (BSA)
  • Shankar Rangan (SR), The British Association of Paediatricians in Audiology Executive Committee (BAPA)
  • Andrew Murray (AM), NHS Health Boards
  • John Marshall (JM), Ears, Nose and Throat Lead, Scottish Government

Supported by

  • Carole Campariol-Scott (CCS), Scottish Government
  • Kim Kennedy (KK), Scottish Government
  • Laura Sweeney (LS), Scottish Government
  • Julie Townsend (JT), Scottish Government

Official observers

  • Claudine Duff (CD), Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed all members and introduced a new member of the group, Agnes Allen, who is representing the Scottish Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP).

The chair advised Catherine Ross, Chief Healthcare Science Officer (CHCSO) within Scottish Government, has stepped down to ensure that the independence of the Review is maintained.

The chair reminded the group about conflicts of interest, individuals’ duty to remain impartial and objective whilst working within the remit of the review. The chair further reminded the group that all subgroup members outside of the main review group should complete a declaration of interest form. If anyone feels conflicted during the meeting, they were invited to highlight it to the chair.

The chair introduced new secretariat support for the review group, Kim Kennedy and Ian Roxburgh.

The chair intimated that John Day has been appointed as Vice Chair of the review group by the Cabinet Secretary and congratulated him on his appointment.

Note of previous meeting, published minutes and terms of reference, meetings admin

With regards to the meeting 3 notes which were uploaded onto the website before full approval was received by the group, the chair explained that advice from the Scottish Government Website Team was that the page could not be removed due to technical issues, but also for reasons of transparency. Any changes would instead be shown as an addendum to meeting 4 notes. The chair noted there was one amendment to be made. No other amendments were highlighted.

The chair asked the group to raise any amendments needed to meeting 4 notes. There were no further amendments needed to be made. The chair advised notes of meeting 4 will be published in due course.

Action from meeting 4: RNID to name a representative to sit on the Structure, governance and leadership subgroup ahead of next week’s meeting - CR has nominated herself to be on the Structure, leadership and governance subgroup. Franki Oliver (RNID) who was CR’s deputy will now take on membership within the Quality assurance subgroup. FO and CR will cover for each other when required.

Update from chair

The chair updated the group that there are now regular meetings with the group chairs, the last one being held on the 27 September. The purpose of the meetings is to ensure that work is progressing against timelines and to ensure no duplication of work. The chair advised the next chairs meeting will be held on 21 November.

The chair advised the group that in terms of widening engagement within the Audiologist community, she met with Sam Lear (NDCS) and discussed questions for a survey of Audiologists in Scotland hoping to finalise the questions by the end of the week. The chair advised the survey will not only be sent to BAA members but to as many Audiologists in Scotland as possible. KL indicated that the BAA would also run workshops to gauge more in depth views and gather common themes. Concerns were raised within the group around the timeline for the completion of questionnaires/workshops. It was agreed that due to pressures within services and difficulties releasing staff, there would need to be adequate notice to maximise participation in workshops. The chair advised this piece of engagement work should be included in the overall project timeline.

It was acknowledged that the Reference group is engaging with service users via a questionnaire and a concern was raised that this may result in confusion. Clarification was provided on this point, that the Reference group survey will only be sent to users of Audiology services, while the BAA survey will only be sent to Audiologists in Scotland. Discussion ensued around how to encourage audiologists to take part in the survey. The importance of highlighting complete anonymity of responses was recognised as is the independence of the BAA as a professional body of Audiologists. These points will be emphasised in a co-signed covering letter from the BAA and Chair.

Action, Chair and BAA: draft questions to be finalised, and covering letter to be drafted.

Action for secretariat: liaise with Sam Lear/Claire Benton around the timeline for the survey and further engagement by BAA with Audiology community.

The chair discussed the forthcoming interim meeting with the Cabinet Secretary on 1st November. The chair advised that the timeline is slightly behind schedule and she will be seeking an extension to the end of March. Members were asked to consider how feasible the current timeline is at this stage of the review process given draft recommendations are due in December 2022 and a final report scheduled for February 2023. The group discussed that the timeline was ambitious, particularly around the public engagement exercise being undertaken by the Alliance on behalf of the Reference group and other surveys underway by subgroups. It was agreed that more time is required for completion and there were some concerns shared that the extension to end of March may not be adequate.

Clarification within the group was sought around what occurs once the review report and recommendations have been drafted. CCS advised The review group will provide a final report and recommendations for services to take forward and the Cabinet Secretary will be sent a final version of the report and recommendations for his awareness only, in order to respect the independent status of the review. The Cabinet Secretary would not be expected to provide views on the final report and recommendations unless he had particular issues with some of its content.

Action chair: to formally ask at the meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for an initial extension of a month to the end of March 2023, while highlighting the possible need for additional flexibility.

The chair advised the next meetings for the subgroups have been set up and that they are to be included in the visual timeline.

Action secretariat: to lookook at future meetings for January-March 2023 and add these into the visual timeline.

The chair highlighted to the group that she will meet with Tom Ferris, Deputy Chief Dental Officer in Scottish Government Primary Care directorate, after this meeting to discuss the community audiology work relevance to the output from the review.

Reference group and subgroups updates

Reference group

AB confirmed that the engagement exercise to be undertaken by the ALLIANCE will have two separate components for adult and paediatric services. AB also confirmed the ALLIANCE has secured a facilitator/researcher to aid in the formation of questions at the next meeting and drafting of the questionnaires.

AB advised that community audiology has not been explicitly included in the Review, however, she highlighted that this has been discussed in the Reference group and that results from the engagement exercise may show that the geographical base of audiology service delivery needs to be explored.

The next Reference group meeting has not yet been confirmed as awaiting responses to Doodle poll.

Action secretariat: finalise date and time for meeting 4 of the Reference group.

Structure, leadership and governance subgroup

AC, the subgroup chair, informed the review group that the group was pulling together a set of key questions to be issued to the Health Boards and Heads of Service and this needed to be actioned with urgency.

The next Structure, leadership and governance meeting will be held on 4 November 2022.

Action secretariat: to provide support with questions where possible.

Quality assurance subgroup

The chair presented the Highlights Report submitted by John Day, to the review group and confirmed the subgroup was currently on track with its work. The paper advised that the group has signed off its KPI’s survey tool and this was sent to all Boards and Chief Executives on 17 October for returns by 8 November and that a case sampling audit (of ABR’s and hearing aid management in children) is underway.

The subgroup will be exploring what arrangements exist within other nations in the UK at Meeting Four. The next Quality assurance subgroup meeting will be held on 30 November 2022

Education and training subgroup

RF, subgroup chair, confirmed they have had three meetings so far.

RF advised at their last meeting the subgroup discussed undergraduate and dispenser training and in particular the availability of the existing programmes in Scotland. RF highlighted that two early recommendations have emerged in relation to foundation training. These were discussed by the review group and it was agreed that as these recommendations are time sensitive, they should be taken to the interim meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, as follows:

  • in 2023 the existing audiology programmes provided by Queen Margaret University (QMU) and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) should run
  • the BSc in audiology at Queen Margaret University should restart in 2023 or 2024

The chair sought clarity around what specific programmes are being referred to in the first recommendation. RF advised the programmes being run are a pre-registration master’s programme which runs a year on and a year off and QMU also run a diploma in hearing aid dispensing, both which are being recommended to be run in 2023.

The next Education and training subgroup meeting will be held on 1st December 2022.

Action chair: to take the first 2 recommendations from Education and training subgroup to the Cabinet Secretary.

Any other business and date of next meeting

The chair asked if the group had any other business to raise. She added that she was unable to attend the next meeting of the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Deafness on 1st of November and that she will arrange an alternative meeting with The chair of the CPG, Colin Beattie. AB advised that she is attending the CPG meeting to provide information on the reference group therefore The review group will be represented.

Secretariat confirmed Doodle Poll will be issued soon to gather dates for meetings in January – March.

Review group meeting 6: Tuesday 13 December 2022, 13:00 – 15:00, Ms Teams.

Back to top