Ear health

NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB, in partnership with the Black Country ICB have now re-procured our community non-complex audiology services. Providers include:

  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
  • The Outside Clinic (Complete Price Eyewear Ltd)
  • Specsavers
  • Scrivens
  • Modality Partnership (the provider will confirm shortly when they can start to accept referrals).

If you think that you need a hearing aid or assessment, then you will need a referral from your GP to access these services. You can choose which of the providers you would like to be referred to, and your GP can advise you on where these providers are located.

Please do not contact the providers directly; a first time (new) referral should be through your GP.

Prior to the reprocurement for community audiology services, the following providers informed NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG that they did not wish to apply:

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB – the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site)
  • Hidden Hearing Ltd
  • The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This means that since 1 October 2019, they are no longer part of the community audiology offer, and no new referrals will be accepted by them. 

Frequently asked questions

The ICBs have made plans with your provider to ensure minimal disruption to your care, and the provider will write to you to advise you about your options. If your hearing condition doesn’t require a new hearing aid they can continue to review and support you. If your hearing does require a new hearing aid device, your care needs to be transferred, then you have the same choice of provider as any new patient accessing this service.

You do not necessarily need a new GP referral; once you have decided on which provider you wish to attend, your current provider can arrange that transfer and ensure your records and medical history is safely transferred.

You should not have to re-attend for a full assessment or be offered new hearing aids if your current hearing aid works fine. You should continue to be monitored annually unless there is a change in your hearing aid needs in which case you can request for a face-face or a telephone appointment.

We are pleased to confirm that if you are registered with a NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB practice, patients 18 and over can now access the community audiology services, rather than waiting until the age of 55.


Eye Health

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has produced information leaflets designed to help patients recognise and treat eye conditions. The leaflets form part of the Association of Optometrists patient resources – a suite of more than 10 leaflets and videos on eye health including sight-threatening conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Moorfields Eye Hospital also produced patient information leaflets for a wide range of eye conditions.

The College of Optometrists has published a series of new videos which show various eye conditions from the patient's point of view

Latest waiting times for cataract first outpatient appointment and cataract surgery

In conjunction with ophthalmology services, the ICB will be providing current waiting times for cataract services, so that patients and referrers to the service have up to date information. These waiting times will be updated monthly

The information below is based on eye care provider’s local data which is sent to NHS Birmingham and Solihull, and for the hospital trusts this data source has come from the electronic referral system. 

Provider name

Clinic type, i.e. glaucoma, diabetic

Average number of weeks from referral received to date of 1st OP appointment 

Number of weeks patient added to IPWL to treatment date (this can be taken from previous month data)

SWBH - Birmingham Midlands Eye Centre

Cataracts

8 weeks 2 weeks

Midland Eye

Cataracts

3 weeks 3 weeks

Optegra

Cataracts

1 week

2 weeks

Spa Medica 

Cataracts

1 weeks 2 weeks

UHB - Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Cataracts

2 weeks 4 weeks

UHB - Good Hope Hospital

Cataracts

23 weeks 2 days 17 weeks 6 days

UHB - Solihull Hospital

Cataracts

23 weeks 2 days 17 weeks 6 days

UHB - Heartlands Hospital

Cataracts

23 weeks 2 days 17 weeks 6 days

The Westbourne Centre

Cataracts

4 weeks

5 weeks
NewMedica Cataracts 1 week 2 weeks

*Current waiting times for October 2023

Patients registered at a GP practice in Birmingham and Solihull can access the community medical ophthalmology service, being provided by Health Harmonie from a range of location across the area:

  • Birmingham South & West - Lordswood Medical Group, 54 Lordswood Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9DB
  • Birmingham East & North - Hawthorn Surgery, 331 Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1DL
  • Solihull & Central Birmingham - Sparkhill Primary Care Centre, 856 Stratford Rd, Sparkhill, Birmingham, B11 4BW
  • Solihull (Monkspath Surgery) - 27 Farmhouse Way, Shirley, Solihull B90 4EH.

HealthHarmonie can see a range of eye conditions within the community. They will endeavor to see all patients within 14 days of referral and will offer the patient a choice of time and location that is convenient for them. If HealthHarmonie receives a referral for a patient that they are unable to see within the community, they will onward refer the patient to an appropriate provider within 24 hours of its receipt.

Patients registered at a GP practice in Birmingham and Solihull, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton, can access CUES, being provided by Primary Eyecare Services Ltd.

Access to the service is restricted to telephone booking only

This is an NHS-funded service available for patients with recent onset and urgent eye symptoms. Typical presenting symptoms will be a red or painful eye, foreign body, sudden change in vision or flashes and floaters.

  • The aim of the service is to provide safe consultations and care via remote or video consultation in order to minimise the need for patient travel and to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.
  • Face to Face assessment only when needed.
  • It is for people of all ages – adults and children
  • Children under 16 years must be accompanied at their appointment by an adult if a face to face appointment is required.
  • Patients will be referred to the new service by their GP, pharmacist or optician where appropriate
  • Patients can self-refer into the service. Find a practice in Birmingham and Solihull and the surrounding areas, which is participating in CUES. 

  • The practitioner manages the condition and offers the patient advice and/or prescribes/recommends medication. Management may include a minor clinical procedure e.g. foreign body removal. A remote follow-up consultation may be necessary.
  • Referral to eye casualty at the local hospital eye service.
  • The condition (and subsequent referral) is non-urgent and is safely delayed until following the pandemic. A further appointment is recommended e.g. 4-6 months.
  • The practitioner has concerns that the patient may have a systemic conditionand makes a referral to their GP.
  • Patient referred non-urgently for further investigation and/or treatment in line with local referral pathways and protocols. Managing the patient expectations relating to appointment availability in the current pandemic.
  • Where appropriate patients given advice on self-care.

New System and assurance framework for eye health system and assurance framework for eye-health (SAFE) – Emergency and Urgent Care 

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) has published its Emergency and urgent care framework

This new framework complements the Systems and Assurance Framework for Eye-health (SAFE) on cataract, glaucoma and AMD published in April 2018. It aims at promoting the right commissioning at the system level, so that there is consistency, improved levels of communication and greater integration between services. A strategic systems approach by commissioners is necessary for all these areas to ensure patients are managed by the right person in the right place at the right time.

Read the Birmingham and Solihull eye health sight loss evidence base