§ Mr. Alfred Morris
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends to approve supraregional funding for cochlear implant operations to be made available in Manchester on the National Health Service as part of a national funding programme for such operations; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Freeman
I was very pleased to be able to announce on 4 January the provision of central funding for a cochlear implant programme. A total of £1 million is being made available in 1990–91 and similar sums will be made available in each of the following two years. Regional health authorities have been asked to submit bids for funding on behalf of units in their area. Up to six centres will be funded. Previously there was no way of alleviating the deafness of profoundly deaf people. Cochlear implants help with lip reading, improve control of voice volume and intonation, restore self-confidence, and remove their sense of isolation.