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Speech Therapy: Barnet

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many speech therapists are employed by the NHS in Barnet; how many there were in 1997; what the estimated shortfall is of numbers of speech therapists in Barnet; what the average waiting time for a first appointment to see a speech therapist in Barnet was on the latest date for which figures are available; what steps he is taking to improve the provision of speech therapy in Barnet; and if he will make a statement. (179105)

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, 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).

Information about waiting times for SLT provided by the national health service is not collected centrally. The Department collects waiting time 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.

There are 6,623 SLTs working in the NHS (NHS staff census September 2006—headcount), an increase of 36 per cent. since 1997. The number of SLTs entering training has increased by 65 per cent. since 1998-99.