"Speech and Language Therapy"

About: NHS Ayrshire & Arran

(as a parent/guardian),

In September 2014 my child was refered by his nursery to Speech and Language Therapy.

In March 2014 I received a letter from the Service after doing a bit of chasing and making a few phone calls in between times to see what had happened to the referral.

The letter asked me to call a number and arrange a telephone consultation with a speech and language therapist where an assessment would be carried out to decide whether or not my child needed and appointment with a speech therapist at this time.

Unfortunatley when this letter came in my child was very ill and had a few Hospital and GP visits therefore I never called speech and language therapy straight away. Within two weeks I recieved another letter which said that as I hadn't called my child would be taken of their list of referrals - I could not believe it after all this time. I phoned and apologised for not getting back within the time that they had expected me to (the first letter never gave me a deadline). I explained the circumstances and the girl kindly placed us back on to the system.

We made the telephone appointment for May which the Speech Therapist called exactly as planned. She was very helpful and knowledgeable and I have since received a letter saying that the local speech therapist would be in touch to make a face to face appointment for our local speech therapist.

My child will be going to School in August. If this process had been smoother we could have had some speech therapy in place before now and this could have helped and prepared my child better for going to school.

Fingers crossed we will receive our appointment soon.

I understand the department is very busy but I think that the referral process should be reviewed. I don't really think its working!

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Response from NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Dear Carlton42,

I am so sorry that it has taken so long for you to be able to access support from our team. We are working hard to avoid unnecessary delays for families and are disappointed that we were unable to respond to your request for assistance in a more appropriate timescale. Our current waiting times are around 10 -12 weeks.

In order to improve access, provide flexibility of appointments and to ensure families get the best support available as quickly as possible, we recently introduced a new referral management system. By contacting the department to arrange an initial telephone consultation we hope that we can match the right clinician to the right child and offer a consultation at a time and venue most suited to your needs. During the telephone consultation we are working towards being able to offer a date and time for a face to face assessment appointment, where required.

Your initial letter should indeed have had a deadline for contact and I am sorry this was not in your letter; I will review the letter template to make sure this can’t happen again. I am, however, pleased that we were able to accommodate a further appointment and that both our administrative staff and the clinician you spoke to were knowledgeable and helpful.

I would like to thank you for your comments and would welcome any further discussion you may wish to have. Please feel free to contact me on 01563 826866 or by email: louise.steel@nhs.net

I hope your child’s transition to primary school goes smoothly and that we can support any speech, language and communication needs that are identified.

Louise Steel

Speech and Language Therapy Service Lead (Community Paediatrics)

NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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