COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: National children's deaf society toasts baby hearing tests

The National Deaf Children's Society has celebrated a long-running campaign that has seen 36,000 babies receive hearing screen tests with a champagne reception in the House of Commons.

The reception celebrated the first anniversary of the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme, which has been piloted in 23 sites across England.

The organisation fought for 10 years to get free tests.

The programme allows babies' hearing to be tested within days of birth.

Previously, babies were not tested until they were six to eight-months old.

Susan Daniels, chief executive of the National Deaf Children's Society, said: "The programme revolutionises the identification of deafness and is the first step in changing the lives of babies born deaf in the UK. It is important that we ensure the newborn screening is available to all parents by 2004 and that all the support services are in place."

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