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Pupils: Speech Therapy

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of speech therapists for pupils in schools; (154760)

(2) what the average waiting time was for a speech therapy assessment in each English local education authority in the last period for which figures are available.

I have been asked to reply.

No assessment has been made centrally. It is for primary care trusts in partnership with local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, outlined in the national service frameworks, and to commission services accordingly. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community, including the provision of speech and language therapy (SLT).

A major review into the provision of services for children and young people with speech, language and communications needs was announced on 11 September by my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Secretary of State for Health. The review will report by summer 2008 and will build on the investment and improvements to SLT and resources in the last 10 years.

Information about waiting times for SLT provided by the national health service (NHS) are not collected centrally. The Department of Health collects waiting times information by consultant led specialties. SLT is not a consultant led speciality. Our objective is to balance the need for data against the burden that data collection places on the NHS.