24 April 2020

The RCSLT has today called on the government to urgently update its national guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that speech and language therapists (SLTs) are not put at unnecessary risk of contracting COVID-19.

SLTs perform a number of essential procedures that result in the production of sputum – recognised as a high risk secretion – but which current government guidance fails to list in the National Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) guidelines.

The oversight in government guidance is resulting in SLTs being refused appropriate PPE by local infection control teams – something that not only puts their own lives at risk, but those of their patients, colleagues and families too. It also impacts the capacity and durability of the NHS’s wider COVID-19 response.

To address the gaps in government advice, the RCSLT has produced its own robust guidance on PPE and COVID-19, in order to protect its members.

Chief Executive of the RCSLT, Kamini Gadhok MBE, said: “I have written a letter today to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, urging him to urgently update the guidance on AGPs to ensure SLTs can access the protective equipment they need to do their jobs safely.

“I’m so proud of the way SLTs have risen to the current challenge and my paramount concern is ensuring they are kept as safe as possible, to ensure this disease is not passed to them or others around them, including patients.”