Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ pioneering cochlear implant service celebrates 21st anniversary
Patients young and old who have received the gift of hearing after life-changing surgery at the Bradford Royal Infirmary will gather on Sunday (September 18) to celebrate the service’s 21st anniversary.
The Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service (YCIS) was set up 21 years ago by pioneering surgeon and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant, Chris Raine, after he learnt of the benefits that these tiny devices could bring to patients with profound deafness.
“Since its inception 21 years ago almost 700 people have received the gift of hearing through these tiny electronic devices which are placed inside the inner ear and which send a signal to the auditory nerve, giving the patient the sensation of sound,” said Chris.
“Reaching this milestone is a great achievement for all that the Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service and its team has done for patients, not just in this region, but across the whole of the north of England.
“It is also the anniversary of The Ear Trust charity which I created in order to buy the first cochlear implants for YCIS as NHS funding was not secured for the service until 1995 and whose many members continue to work so hard to fundraise and support the department today.”
More than 100 cochlear implant recipients, from as far away as London, Lancashire, Hull and Scarborough, Foundation Trust staff and Ear Trust members will gather at Bolton Abbey’s Village Hall between 12.30pm to 4pm to celebrate YCIS’s 21st anniversary party. The youngest patient attending will be four-years-old while the oldest is in her 70s. ENT consultants, Dave Strachan and Iqbal Khan, will also be at the reunion alongside service co-ordinator, Jane Martin.
Original YCIS team member and hearing therapist, Christine Gill, will also be at the party but former colleague, audiologist Salim Khan, can’t attend as he is now working in Dubai after retiring from the BRI.
Service Co-ordinator, Jane Martin, said: “It’s hard to believe that YCIS has now reached its 21st anniversary as it only seems like yesterday when the service was set up.
“Sunday’s party is going to be one big celebration for all of the team and patients who were previously deaf but who can now hear thanks to the sterling work that goes on in Bradford.
“It is a great privilege to work with such committed professionals and inspirational adults, children and their families.”
Since its inception in 1989, the service has expanded to serve not just Yorkshire patients but those from across the north of England.
Between April-September this year alone, 35 people ranging from 18 months-old to 77-years-old received implants and can now hear – some for the very first time in their lives.
When YCIS began, the first cochlear implants cost £12,000 whereas today’s more advanced versions cost around £20,000. In 2009, The Duke of Gloucester opened the new £2.8m purpose-built Listening for Life Centre within the grounds of the BRI to house the YCIS team and their work. Half of the money for the new centre was raised by Ear Trust members who continue to raise invaluable funds for YCIS today.
Compared to the three original employees back in 1989, YCIS now has 28 staff including consultants, scientists, teachers of the deaf, speech and language therapists, family liaison officers and an administration team.
Chief Executive Miles Scott said: “Everyone involved with Bradford Teaching Hospitals can’t fail to be impressed with the increasingly inventive, and interactive, methods staff at YCIS use to provide patients with the most up-to-date technology regarding cochlear implantation.
“Over the years, the success of YCIS has been down to the passion and drive of the whole team and their determination to bring the gift of hearing to so many.
”I am delighted that YCIS is celebrating its 21st anniversary and long may the good work which goes on at the Listening for Life Centre continue for many more years to come.”
Representatives from the manufacturers who make the cochlear implants are also coming to join in the celebrations.