Making a succinct case for speech and language therapy

Last week I heard Mike Inglis, the newly appointed Governor of Polmont Young Offenders Institution, make a succinct case for speech and language therapy.

Mike was speaking at a Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT) study day on effectiveness and efficiency. He explained that speech and language therapy helps inmates cope with the training programmes (on alcohol or drug dependency, sex offending, anger management) that will increase their employability and reduce re-offending. Reinforcing the message, RCSLT Chief Executive Kamini Gadhok (pictured) said, “Communication is central – without it we cannot access the world of education or the world of work.”

In a later slot Professor Paul Carding said that, although speech and language therapists have always been innovative thinkers in the face of the constantly challenging environment of the NHS, we are not good at making the case for our services “succinctly, sharply and clearly”. Richard Simpson MSP reinforced the need to be concise when presenting information or ideas to politicians, for example as part of the RCSLT Giving Voice campaign. A short brief with links to supporting evidence for parliamentary researchers to follow up is most effective.

Keeping it simple is also a good principle for conference presentations, where the time per speaker is strictly limited. Eryl Evans got her message across clearly, but with humour and compassion: long journeys for treatment are not good for clients or services, yet we are not always aware of alternatives. Eryl discovered that state of the art videoconferencing facilities were already in all of the small rural hospitals in her health board area. She now uses telemedicine to provide a high quality service which is convenient for the clients and a more efficient use of therapy time.

The RCSLT Study Day and AGM 2010 ‘Effectiveness and efficiency – innovation in speech and language therapy’ was in Edinburgh on 7th October. The photograph from the event is used by kind permission of RCSLT. Presentations are due to be added to the RCSLT website soon.

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