About the project

SLTs work in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), where the more complex difficulties are frequently experienced. Currently, the SLT workforce is expanding in this area but still recognise that the child may experience difficulties when discharged to the community and there are few community SLTs that have the capacity to support these children.

Health Education England (HEE) provided funding to deliver a project that aimed to look at speech and language therapy services of infants, children and families who require support outside specialist hospital and in community settings. We have completed the first stage of this project with a service and training needs analysis and written report.

Read more about the overall workforce reform programme.


The purpose of this project was to understand the gaps and challenges in the workforce relating to the dysphagia needs of infants and children and who need support outside of hospital and community settings.

Project outcomes

Work completed by the group includes the development and implementation of a survey to understand the training and service gaps in the community paediatric dysphagia workforce. The survey received 183 responses, from a wide range of people including managers, team leads, clinical leads, SLTs, specialist SLTs and more.  

Survey results were analysed and a Lead Author was recruited to write up the report with recommendations, some of which include: 

  • Ongoing support and training is needed 
  • Improvement of paediatric dysphagia clinical guidelines and evidence base summaries, to support clinical practice reflective of current evidence-based practice and supervision  
  • Benchmarking of service delivery across service models 

This project was aligned with the Neonatal Clinical Excellence Network (CEN) and the recent work on training modules. A member of the Neonatal CEN is on the Community Paediatric Dysphagia Working Group, enabling a collaborative approach. 

A set of recommendations for future work was submitted to Health Education England and can be found here.



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