Information about the pre-registration eating, drinking and swallowing competencies, their role in future-proofing the profession, and how they are relevant to you.

Why the project is needed

UK pre-registration education and training courses are currently encouraged to use the RCSLT Dysphagia Training and Competency framework (2014) as a basis for their eating, drinking and swallowing (EDS) education and training.

Prior to the publication of the pre-registration EDS competencies in February 2021, there was no clear mandate to have theoretical and practical competencies in EDS, in the RCSLT Curriculum guidance (2018), higher than Level A. Learners currently graduate with a range of EDS competencies depending on the Higher Educational Institute (HEI) that they attend, i.e. this can range from Level A to Level C.

In light of feedback from the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) partners and COVID-19 highlighting the lack of EDS-trained SLTs available in the current workforce, it became clear that the issue of future proofing the profession through pre-registration EDS training was becoming imperative.

We therefore need to align the EDS competencies that are delivered at the point of graduation with those delivered by our international colleagues and have a consistent level of competency achieved by all pre-registration learners within the UK.

Health Education England (HEE) are supporting the RCSLT to deliver pre-registration EDS competencies by academic year 2025-2026. Although supported by HEE, this is a UK-wide initiative.

To make this change happen, we are working collaboratively with HEIs, clinicians, learners and HEE as key stakeholders.

It will include looking at how practical training can be delivered differently through eLearning, teleplacements, and face-to-face teaching with the new pre-registration EDS competencies (PDF), which were published in February 2021.

What this means

This means that:
  • Learners graduating from UK speech and language therapy pre-registration education and training courses in 2025-2026 will receive practical experience and training in EDS in line with the new pre-registration EDS competencies (PDF).
  • We are working with all HEIs to embed this into their curriculum.
  • We will work with EDS services to provide student placements/additional placements.
  • SLTs will be seen as an innovative profession able to utilise eLearning, telehealth and new ways of working, to continue developing the profession.
  • UK trained SLTs will have clinical parity with international colleagues/recognised by mutual recognition agreement (MRA) countries.
This does not mean that:
  • All services need to provide EDS placements.
  • SLTs who have already graduated will be able to access dysphagia training through this project – the normal postgraduate training route will still apply for learners entering courses before academic year 2022–2023, and in some cases 2023-2024. For specific guidance based on course start time and length, please read the implementation timeline and end-point expectations for learners graduating with the pre-registration EDS competencies.
  • All SLTs will be expected to work with dysphagia patients.
  • NQPs will be able to see complex cases without supervision or further dysphagia specialisation.
  • The pre-registration EDS competencies directly align to Level C in the RCSLT Dysphagia Training and Competency framework (2014), although there is some overlap.

Have questions or feedback about the pre-registration EDS competencies? Let us know.

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