A FORMER district nurse was shocked to find ear syringing was no longer a free NHS service offered by all Warwickshire GP surgeries.
The retiree from Whitnash phoned a surgery on behalf of an elderly friend with dementia to book the service.
But she was shocked when she was told he would need to get it done at a local opticians – and pay £50 to do so. After looking into it further, she found some opticians in south Warwickshire were charging £90 for the service.
When she asked why the service was not available at the surgery she was told the nurses were not qualified.
She told the Observer: “The makes me really upset. Why is it not in their contract to do it? It’s a duty of care.
“It’s privatisation gone ridiculous. It beggars belief.
“Old people are being asked to pay and told to go to opticians which is just going to end up with them not bothering and then what? You can’t expect someone with dementia to either do it themselves with a home kit or to go to an opticians to have their ears syringed especially when they’re already confused.”
She is calling for nurses to be taught the ‘simple’ procedure she was trained to do during her nursing days.
She added: “GPs should be getting nurses trained and taking some responsibility to do it. The GP should buy an electrical ear syringe set and show them how it’s done.
“We cannot allow this scandal carried out privately to be continued. Where will it end?”
But an NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group spokesperson said GP surgeries were not obligated to offer the service although patients admitted for a hearing aid assessment would be eligible.
They told the Observer: “GP practices have the option as to whether or not they offer wax removal services, including ear syringing, based on the needs of their patients.
“There are alternative options for people to have ear wax removed, including having the procedure done at hospital or at a community provider such as some local opticians, if they have a clinical need.”