Q. I have a hearing aid - can I attend the drop-in sessions to get a new battery like I used to?

A. Audiology patients at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are being advised that, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, drop-in hearing aid repair sessions will remain closed and repairs will be by appointment only.

The drop-in sessions at Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, have been closed to reduce the volume of patients in waiting areas at any one time. This is to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and to keep patients and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.

Hearing aid repairs will continue to be carried out via appointment only and to arrange an appointment, patients are advised to contact their nearest hospital’s Audiology Department.

The Trust would like to thank patients for their patience and understanding at this challenging time.

Q. I'm waiting to be seen at the hospital - what's the latest?

A. UHMBT has recently written to all patients waiting for an appointment. As you will be aware, the NHS has come under great strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the non-urgent hospital and community services were ‘paused’ - both as a safety precaution and to allow us to deliver the urgent care necessary.

Whilst the restrictions of lockdown are easing, there are still measures in place which impact on the number of patients we are able to see and treat, so we are asking patients to please bear with us as we start to make new appointments for our patients.

Some patients may have already received their appointments but if you are still waiting for your appointment, we appreciate that you may be disappointed and would like to reassure you that as soon as we are in a position to send you a date; we will be back in touch. We aim to be back in touch within the next three months with more information about when you may receive your appointment.

We also understand that you may be nervous about coming into hospital or a community setting but please be assured that we have taken all the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and reduce the potential transmission of the virus. More information is available on our website at https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/visiting-our-hospitals/our-response-coronavirus

We will, of course, keep the national guidelines under review and if changes are made that effect when you may receive your appointment, we will be in touch.

We would like to thank you for your continued patience and support during this difficult time for all. Our Trust has been able to respond well to the pandemic so far and a big part of that is down to the support we have received from our patients and local communities so I'd like to thank you all.

Please remember if you have an urgent medical problem and you're not sure what to do please contact NHS 111 if appropriate. You can find out more about NHS 111 here https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/