In an open letter to Downing Street, over 80 organisations have urged the Government to improve access to speech and language therapy (SLT) services.
The call has been made after the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists published the findings of a survey into people’s access to speech and language therapy during the first UK-wide lockdown between March-June 2020.
Published on 16 March, Speech and language therapy during and beyond COVID-19: building back better with people who have communication and swallowing needs has reported some positive findings:
- respondents said that SLT makes their lives and the lives of their families and carers better;
- some people continued to have SLT during lockdown; and
- some people liked SLT on the phone and online/video.
But it also revealed that:
- people had less speech and language therapy during lockdown;
- people stopped having face to face SLT during lockdown; and
- some people who had SLT over the phone and online/video either did not like or found it inaccessible.
People have reported that their communication and swallowing either stayed the same or got worse during lockdown. They also said that having less SLT made their education, mental health, home life and social life and friendships worse.
Comprising a broad coalition of representatives working across education, health and social care, justice, disability, employment and poverty, and including charities and professional bodies, the organisations have come together to call on the Government to improve support for people of all ages with communication and swallowing needs.
Urgent action is needed right now and going forward to improve access to speech and language therapy for those people and their families and carers. That is why we have joined forces to urge the Government to #BuildBackBetterSLT