The chief executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) said it is "alarming" that a survey found almost 1 in 4 jobs are vacant across the UK.
A survey by the professional body found speech and language therapy (SLT) vacancies across the UK had reached 23% with almost all children's services (96%) and 9 out of 10 adult services (90%) which responded saying recruitment is more or much more challenging than at any time in the past three years.
A delay to receiving SLT support can affect a person's ability to communicate with friends and family or to eat and drink as well as a child's ability to access the school curriculum, to regulate their behaviour or to form friendships.
The COVID-19 pandemic added to the pressure on SLT services, exacerbating waiting times for assessment and support, as well as adding referrals to see young children whose language and social development was hampered by pandemic restrictions which meant they were not mixing with other children or adults at play groups, nurseries, and schools.
RCSLT's new Chief Executive, Steve Jamieson, said, "By the time they are seen by a SLT their needs are a lot more complex and difficult to manage and to treat.”
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Source: Medscape, 5 April 2023