Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of UK charity Action on Hearing Loss
Paul Breckell joined Action on Hearing Loss in 2007 (then RNID) as Executive Director of Corporate Resources, before being appointed the charity’s Chief Executive in 2012.
Action on Hearing Loss is the UK’s largest hearing loss charity, which runs hundreds of community services across the UK; a national information helpline and online advice forums; it provides personalised care for people who are deaf with additional needs; and campaigns to improve equality and life choices for deaf people as well as to help people protect their hearing. Action on Hearing Loss is also the only UK charity dedicated to funding research into treatments and cures for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Before moving into the voluntary sector, Paul trained as a chartered public finance accountant (CIPFA) whilst working with the Audit Commission. He is the Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium and is a former Chair of Charity Finance Group. He writes and speaks on a number of topics in relation to hearing loss and disability as well as on leadership, governance and finance in the ‘beyond profit’ sector. He is a Trustee of the Roffey Park Institute and a member of Amnesty International (UK) Finance and Audit Committee.
Paul is married with one son and is actively involved in his local community.
So it's that time of year again - 'tis the season of seemingly endless Christmas parties and get-togethers. Throughout December many of us will spend time with our family, friends and colleagues in pubs, restaurants and bars enjoying festive indulgences we wait all year for.
There are few pleasures as universal as dining out with family and friends. Grabbing a pint in the pub with an old friend or going to dinner with loved ones are some of our favourite ways to spend quality time social time with our nearest and dearest. Far from being merely a place to eat and drink, restaurants, cafes and bars are social spaces - social spaces that across the UK we elect to spend our time, and our money.
For the last week, Action on Hearing Loss has been marking Deaf Awareness Week by asking people to tell us their stories. Rather than set a particular agenda ourselves, we wanted the voices of those living with hearing loss to be heard, and their stories to be shared.
All of us will at some point in our lives be touched by hearing loss, with the number of people living with it set to rise from 11 million to 15.6 million or one in five - by 2035 - it is inevitable that hearing loss will affect us all.
Despite hearing loss being acknowledged by the government as a major public health issue - and with its 'Action Plan on Hearing Loss' now in place - there is still an overall perception that hearing loss isn't necessarily that 'serious'. It's often viewed as an inevitable part of ageing, and its links with other serious health conditions are not as widely known as they should be.
As a charity, at Action on Hearing Loss we often talk about the 10 million people in the UK living with a hearing loss. While this is a shockingly large figure - amounting to one in six of us - what we perhaps don't stress enough is that four of those 10 million live with an unaddressed hearing loss.
Imagine if you couldn't get involved in friends' or colleagues' conversations about Games of Thrones, Breaking Bad or W1A? As FOMO (that's Fear Of Missing Out, for anyone over 35 like me) continues to take hold, it's not acceptable for broadcasters to continue cutting one in nine people out of the popular culture of their generation.
Election week is finally here, the political parties have pitched their manifestos to the electorate, most of us have already decided which way to vote and what's left now is just the wait to see what happens on Thursday and beyond. The campaigning is over - it's decision time.
The Action Plan is ambitious - it sets out plans to improve services and to tackle the postcode lottery in hearing services across England, and it commits NHS England to produce much needed national guidance for local commissioners to ensure they supply the right services for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
I've got some good news that I really want to share with you today - the first drugs to treat hearing conditions are expected within five years according to the report published by Action on Hearing Loss. This is a big deal.
According to this week's Budget speech, satisfaction with the NHS is rising year on year. While the NHS can be incredible in a crisis - as I discovered when a close friend, in his early forties, went from complaining of headaches and dizzy spells to, 48 hours later, having lifesaving brain surgery - there are other, unsung services that are facing unprecedented cuts.
23/03/2015 12:11 GMT
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