24 June 2021

The RCSLT, alongside other allied health professional (AHP) organisations and charities, has contributed to a new report revealing how COVID-19 has impacted people with long-term health conditions, why a rehabilitation strategy is needed urgently and what an effective strategy needs to include.

The RCSLT has joined nine AHP bodies and charities in producing a new report ‘Moving Forward Stronger – Addressing deterioration in people with long-term conditions during the pandemic’. The report shines a light on the deterioration experienced by many people with long-term conditions during the pandemic and urges the government to take action.

The report calls on local and national government to take action to:

  • Fully fund a national two-year rehabilitation strategy that ensures people with significantly deteriorated long-term conditions get the therapeutic support they need.
  • Appoint a national clinical lead to implement this rehabilitation strategy.
  • Ensure local partners – such as local authorities and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) – develop and deliver their own localised rehabilitation strategy, and that each ICS has a regional rehabilitation lead.

The report focuses on the importance of community rehabilitation services for people with long-term conditions who have been affected by the pandemic. Community services, including speech and language therapists, are vital for people to manage their long-term conditions. However, during the pandemic, many people with long-term conditions did not receive the vital speech and language therapy they and their families needed. We know that many people will now be in the process of having their needs identified but will face waits for the vital therapy they need.

Action is needed now to ensure that all people with communication and swallowing needs can access the speech and language therapy that they desperately need.