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1m children in speech therapy postcode lottery

Friday 29th March 2019
A lack of funding has left many children on the waiting list for speech therapy for years, threatening to impact their education.
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Funding cuts have led to a postcode lottery with more than a million children currently on waiting lists to see a speech therapist.

Some of those affected are having to wait for years just to be assessed and the east of England is the worst affected, with 83 per cent of parents saying the help they require is not available, reports the Mirror.

Where the situation is better, it’s still not perfect, as 27 per cent of guardians in the East Midlands felt the lack of services even though this area has the most coverage in England.

Things have become so backlogged in the North East that 77 per cent of children are waiting for a speech therapist and in the South West the proportion stands at 75 per cent.

Services and equipment are not available for 32 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber, while 35 per cent of children in need of speech therapy in London are not getting it.

Kamini Gadhok, of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), said: “Therapists are passionate about improving the lives of children and young people.

“Unfortunately in many areas funding of speech and language therapy services has been cut or has not kept up with increasing demand. Far too many are not getting the vital support they need.”

A survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the RCSLT children’s communication charity I CAN found that 59 per cent of parents struggled to get the help they needed with their children’s speech.

This has left many of them concerned about how it could affect their children’s development and progress at school, as well as communicating with other children.

Written by Martin Lambert

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