Sunday, 24 October 2010

A sign of things to come?

Speech & Language Therapy has always been the 'Cinderella' of the services within the NHS, historically, whenever there have been cut-backs to be made, the NHS bosses have known that it's an easy option. This is in, part due to the fact that the departments are mostly staffed by very nice ladies who wouldn't complain (or of they did, it would be 'ever so politely' and not very loudly). They know there would be little chance of strike action or industrial dispute. And who else would moan? Our clients have problems communicating their everyday needs, thoughts and wants, never mind be able to make a statement in support of the shortage of therapists. 

Yet, any communication difficulty, however small, can be devastating to the individual and have a major impact on the whole of that person's life. As I've put at the top of the blog, and can't say any better,‘The ability to communicate is central to all that we do, to who we are, how we learn and how we relate to others’ (Ross, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2007). Communication problems of any kind, however mild, will certainly lead to isolation, frustration and an inability to fully integrate into society. Children will have a harder time making friends and fitting into nursery or school while adults will have inummerable social, emotional and day to day difficulties.

Whether it's an adult who has suffered a stroke or a young child who is not developing language as they should, it is vital that they receive the help they need from suitably qualified, experienced professionals...I.E. SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPISTS. The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists' Giving Voice Campaign is an excellent attempt to bring home the issues from the clients point of view. Unfortunately, this might have little impact in today's climate of cut-backs see for what's happening in one area.

Am I falling into 'nimby-ism' (i.e. not in my back yard')? No, as I'm an independent therapist, who is likely to benefit from any NHS cutbacks. I am, however, a sad observer of what is happening to an essential service. I know speech, language and communication problems are not life threatening but they are thoroughly life impacting.

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  1. The speech and language service at out local Sure Start Centre was cut even before the new Government appeared, so I can appreciate exactly what you mean by 'Cinderella'. Thanks for entering the blog carnival.

  2. This is pretty sad. I work in Canada and although there are cuts across the education and health services, I feel there is more respect for S&L therapists here. It definitely isn't the first thing to be cut and it's not seen as a soft option with no complainers!

  3. I agree, it is sad but there may be a change on the horizon as some departments are set to go 'on strike' as a protest. I'm not sure what it will do but it's a move away from what has happened historically!