This week statistics have been published in the Mirror stating that some under 18’s are now looking at a waiting time of over a year for to see a speech therapist. Furthermore, 40% of under 18’s with a speech problem are going without the help they need according to a survey by the Centre for Workforce intelligence. This is suggested to be a result of budget cuts in the NHS causing a backlog of potential clients for speech therapy. Nonetheless, one of the most shocking statistics to come out of the report is that more than one third of under 4’s aren’t getting the treatment they need for speech related issues. This shows that, at the age when speech therapy is most necessary, under 4’s are going without the support they need to help deal with their speech problems.
Not only has the cut backs lead to experienced speech and language therapists being let go, but also, as a result of being over worked, some therapists have quit. This has in turn lead to a decrease in quality in care, as well as availability, with Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Chief Kamini Gadhok stating “It’s a false economy. Children are entering school without the necessary communication skills which will cost the system much more in the long term”.
The research has also shown that the lack of treatment given to under 11s could cost the tax payers over £26billion in future treatment. One in ten children suffers from a speech problem such as language delay, aphasia, or dyspraxia. Despite NHS England announcing that there are now 144 more NHS speech therapists than in 2010, government cuts seemed to be affecting those who would benefit most. This is shown by the story of Mya Noi, five, who is deaf in one ear due to meningitis and speaks with a lisp. After nine months waiting to see a speech therapist, she was only provided with two sessions to help correct her lisp.
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