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BPS updates, Government and politics

BPS supports call to build back better for people who have communication and swallowing needs

We’ve joined with more than 80 other organisations to urge the government to use the recovery from the pandemic as an opportunity to better support people who have communication and swallowing needs.

17 March 2021

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, the coalition of organisations working with, representing and supporting people who have communication and swallowing needs, ask the government to improve access to speech and language therapy services for children and young people, adults, and their families and carers.

Given the clear links between communication and swallowing needs and mental health, we want to see speech and language therapy recognised as an integral part of the recovery plan for mental health services.

Research by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) into people’s access to speech and language therapy during the first UK-wide lockdown found that 45% of children and young adults who responded said having less speech and language therapy made their mental health worse. Amongst adults surveyed 56% said their mental health had got worse.

Dr Hazel McLaughlin, president of the BPS, said:

We appreciate the consequences for people and lend our voice to this cause. We want to ensure that people with communication and swallowing needs have access to the services. This will make a difference to their lives.

“This is an opportunity to review and revisit services, and to ensure that support for communication development is built into recovery policies. The government can make an impact and reduce inequalities between those who can access services and those without access.

The RCSLT survey reinforces, that these services provide much more than physical aid or support. In addition, they help to build confidence and to promote positive psychological wellbeing amongst their users. It is important that these benefits are not lost because of the pandemic and services are provided for those most in need.

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