Survey on the temporary changes to Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Services
Across the country, the number of referrals into Children’s Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) has risen sharply. Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust’s Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service have also seen an increase in the demand for services which has resulted in growing waiting times for assessment and interventions.
To protect and maintain services for children and young people who need it most, LCHS have reviewed the way they carry out assessments and accept referrals into the service.
Previously, children and young people who were referred to the service were put on a waiting list and those with low level needs could have been waiting for up to a year before they were seen.
On a temporary basis, the service will focus support to children and young people with: eating and drinking difficulties, speech and/or language disorders and highly complex speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) This includes children who have disordered communication skills, such as those who are speaking but their speech is highly unintelligible even to a familiar listener, who do not have a functional means of communicating their wants and needs, or who are not speaking or minimally speaking where this is not explained by a global developmental delay.
Rather than be placed onto a waiting list, children and young people with more low-level speech, language and communication needs will now receive: Signposting to our website hub with information, and training to encourage proactive support from family, education providers or other responsible adults Support from other services and groups within local children’s centres or family hub For some children and young people this will provide all of the support they need. Those who still require further treatment after this will be added to the waiting list to access more specialist services.
This will release significant pressure on the service and means that those with the greatest need will be assessed and interventions put in place much sooner. This change will be continually reviewed to ensure that the service is supporting as many children and young people as possible, whilst continuing to deliver great care and prioritising those with the greatest need.