Children missing school because they can't get their ears unblocked

Abi Pullen-Game and her daughter Eliza-Rae

Mum Abi Pullen-Game was horrified when she was quoted £250 to have her daughter's ears syringed - it is a service no longer offered on the NHS. - Credit: Abi Pullen-Game

A mum from Needham Market has spoken of the pain her daughter has experienced waiting to get her ears syringed - a service that is no longer offered on the NHS. 

Earlier this month Abi Pullen-Game contacted Needham Market Country Surgery as her eight-year-old daughter Eliza-Rae was suffering from blocked ears, resulting in ear pain. 

Eliza-Rae Game

Eliza-Rae Game, eight, missed two days of school because of ear problems - Credit: Abi Pullen-Game

After being told the surgery no longer offer ear syringing she was pointed in direction of Specsavers or the Hearing Clinic, only to be told they do not offer the service for under 18s - the Nuffield Hospital then quoted her a price of £250. 

Abi said Eliza-Rae's experience was "terrible" she added: " She has missed two vital days of school because of this, even 111 couldn't help.

"Too many children are being left in pain, it's disgusting." 

Since sharing her daughter's experience on social media, Eliza-Rae has had her ears syringed by a private nurse offering the service. 

Another mum from Stowmarket, who does not wished to be named, has described a similar experience she had with the Stow Health surgery in the town. 

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The mum said her daughter had her hearing checked at school and failed four out of four tests. 

She was told the surgery did not offer microsuction of ears and it would be best if the family paid privately for the treatment as a referral to an ENT specialist would take "at least two years".

The mum said: "Initially I was upset by the fact that would mean she could miss two years of learning so I started looking into paying. I couldn't find anyone local to do her ears because of her age so we ended up having to travel to Colchester." 

A spokesman for the the Suffolk clinical commissioning group (CCG) said: "Parents of children with ear wax build-up should speak to their pharmacist who can provide helpful advice and suggest over-the-counter treatment. There is also lots of helpful advice and information on the NHS website.

“If parents are concerned about their child’s hearing generally they should contact their local GP practice for support – they might offer treatment, signpost you to other health services, or if appropriate, refer you to a specialist ear, nose and throat service.”

In September 2020, health minister Edward Argar confirmed that GP practises across the country are no longer expected to provide ear syringing for adults or children.

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