SIDMOUTH residents can get NHS hearing aids and aftercare for the first time thanks to ground-breaking government changes.

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Specsavers have been accredited to provide a local free NHS hearing service at Stowford Community Centre.

This covers initial assessment through to provision of hearing aids and aftercare. Specsavers bosses say the move will offer greater choice and more convenience when it comes to appointment times to see an audiologist on the NHS.

The accreditation follows a tender process under the Any Qualified Provider (AQP) scheme.

The AQP scheme means that, for some conditions such as hearing loss, patients will be able to choose from a range of approved providers, such as hospitals or high street service providers.

Donna Morgan, Specsavers audiologist for Stowford Community Centre, said: “Being awarded the AQP contract for Sidmouth means we can now pass on the many benefits this brings to our local community, which is pioneering.

“People over the age of 55 in the Sidmouth area will have greater choice; they will be able to enjoy a service more suited to individual needs.”

Patients will continue to access the same quality of care, free of charge, as they would have previously with the NHS. To receive treatment residents will need to see their GP to request a referral to the Specsavers’ Sidmouth location.

Contact Specsavers on 01392 210 604 or visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/exeter-hearing.

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