Any Qualified Provider (AQP)

Your NHS Audiology & hearing aid services are changing…

There may be changes taking place in your local area that determine who can offer you your NHS audiology and hearing aid services without any charge to you. This means that when you talk to your GP about your hearing you may be offered a choice of organisations that you could be referred to in your local area.

The government is using a process called “Any Qualified Provider (AQP)” to offer patients more choice and improve access whilst still providing high quality care. A number of different NHS services are part of AQP and adult audiology and hearing aid services is one of them.

Once AQP has been rolled out in your area you may have a choice of who you visit to get a hearing test, have your hearing aid(s) fitted and maintained. Each local area will be different, offering you a different number and selection of service providers. These might include:

  • Hospital
  • GP surgeries Health Centres
  • High street hearing aid dispensing chains (e.g. Specsavers and Boots)
  • Independent hearing aid dispensers
  • Charities (e.g. Action for Deafness)

Regardless of which service provider you choose to receive your care will still be free of charge to you as an NHS patient.

Local authorities have recently replaced your local Primary Care Trust (PCT) with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG). It is the responsibility of the CCG to advise GPs about who is suitable to be referred to services using the AQP route. For example, a person with multiple disabilities who requires a more complex hearing assessment and hearing aids will be referred to the local NHS hospital and audiology service.

For more information about this change to audiology services in England please see:

Take part in a review of NHS audiology services

Monitor (the regulator for health services in England) is carrying out a review of NHS audiology services and is interested in the experiences that patients have had regarding choice of appointments, satisfaction with the service received and the hearing aids provided, support with communication, information, aftercare and more.

Related links in this section

Hearing technologies homepage

Audiology services and hearing aid provision

Types of hearing aids

Implantable devices

Hearing aid accessories and related technologies


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Updated: September 2014
Review due: December 2015

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First published: Thursday 11 July 2013
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015