Some of the issues affecting SLTs and those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak have been the subject of debates and parliamentary questions at Westminster.
In the Commons, Steve McCabe, the MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, has asked written questions on the impact of the Coronavirus on SEND provision, including for children and young people with SLCN and support for staff.
Over in the House of Lords, Lord Ramsbotham, RCSLT honorary life vice-president and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language Difficulties, spoke during the second reading of the coronavirus Bill on 24 March. He described SLTs as “essential in this process” and highlighted accessible communication, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for SLTs, and SLTs as key workers.
In a separate debate on support for the self-employed, Baroness Thornhill drew on the example of a freelance SLT working in a school.
The Scottish Parliament passed the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill on 1 April, with measures aimed at children and adults in care. The RCSLT Scotland office has been liaising with the Chief Health Professions Officer, the Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland and AHP Directors on a range of issues affecting guidance for health and social care staff.
Mark Isherwood, the assembly member for North Wales, has tabled written questions on support for children with SLCN and additional learning needs, support for staff in education settings and accessible information.
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Health Committee is hearing evidence from the Minister for Health on 2 April. The RCSLT Northern Ireland office has written to the committee to ask for clarification around how accessible information on COVID-19 infection prevention is being provided to those with SLCN, and how PPE will be distributed in NI, highlighting the frontline role of SLTs who work in acute and care settings