PATIENTS with hearing problems will benefit from shorter waiting times thanks to a new NHS service.

Increasing demand means many audiology patients are currently having to wait several weeks for hospital appointments.

But a new one-stop service, run by GP Care UK, will see people referred to clinics at local surgeries, including Crusader Surgery in Stephenson Road, Clacton, CVS Tendring in Rosemary Road, as well as at Great Bentley Surgery.

The NHS Community Audiology Service, for patients aged 50 and over, was launched this week.

Patients will be assessed for the degree and nature of hearing loss, and can have free hearing aids fitted there and then if they wish.

Patients already being treated at Colchester General Hospital will continue their treatment there, but in future referrals will only be made when treatment in the community is not suitable.