Originally the Audiology Service were located within the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, in Exeter. In May 2011, we bid to become a Social Enterprise. The whole audiology department, including staff and equipment, were transferred to Chime - the new Social Enterprise Company. We viewed this as an exciting opportunity to continue to provide an excellent audiology service but to be more in charge of the decisions taken relating to the service offered.
We believe that we have a sustainable model that is replicable. Currently, Chime is only located in the Exeter and localities. In the future, we hope to expand our unique services to other parts of the UK.
After spending three months working in different departments in the hospital when I was a student, I selected audiology as my profession because I enjoyed working closely with patients and making an impact on their lives. The Consultant grade came after working in several departments in different parts of the country and growing my expertise.
With the advances in technology and programming, hearing aids are becoming increasingly sophisticated and bespoke to each user. The evolution of software means that hearing technology can help with not only hearing but accessibility to the internet. Imagine a future where Google Maps directions come through your hearing aid or hearing aids have the ability to translate speech into your native language.
Having a direct influence on the way the NHS system develops in an in a way that supports patients.
I wouldn’t say I have a specific memory as such, but as I’ve specialised in working with children and newborns and I find that to be the most rewarding – they’re the stories that seem to stay with me. Being involved in their diagnosis in the early years through to their young adult lives when they head off to university, it’s great to be part of the whole process.
Chime is a unique social enterprise and is regarded as a leading audiology service and centre of excellence in the South West. We have a clear ambition to be recognised as the best NHS hearing service in the UK, as viewed by fellow professionals and patients.
The biggest challenge I’ve had would probably be 15 years ago where there were three separate professions representing Audiology within the NHS. The British Academy of Audiology (BAA) was formed as an amalgamation of BAAS (British Association of Audiological Scientists), BSHT (British Society of Hearing Therapists) and BAAT (British Association of Audiology Technicians). Eight years after the initial discussion, the BAA became effective on 1st April 2004, following an overwhelming vote, in favour of the union. I was lucky enough to be voted the first president of the academy in 2004, helping raise the profile of audiology as an autonomous profession and be a united, powerful voice.
As a leader, I believe trustworthiness and professionalism are the most important values to have. I also lead by our Chime values of being Professional, Caring, Committed, United and Pioneers. At Chime, we work consistently to these values and acknowledge within the team when we see that they have been met.