Statement on key worker and vaccine eligibility

General statement

The RCSLT understands the immense and unprecedented challenge that COVID-19, and within this the rollout of vaccines, presents to government, the NHS and society at large.

In order to simplify and clarify matters, we confirm that, in our view:

  • All registered and practising SLTs are key/critical workers for the purposes for which this is relevant. This includes those employed by the NHS, other employers or independently.
  • All registered and practising SLTs providing face-to-face therapy, along with students on placement and SLT assistants in the same settings, are frontline health and care workers for the purposes of vaccine prioritisation. This includes school and community settings.

It is also our view that other professionals working in the same settings should be similarly prioritised.

Member statement

Key worker and vaccine eligibility

1. Key/critical worker status – The RCSLT regards all registered and practising SLTs as key/critical workers for the purposes for which this is relevant. This includes those employed by the NHS, other employers or independently. We will provide members with a letter to this effect.

2. Vaccine eligibility – The RCSLT regards all registered and practising SLTs providing face-to-face therapy, along with students on placement and SLT assistants in the same settings, as frontline health and care workers for the purposes of vaccine prioritisation. This includes school and community settings. We will provide members with a letter to this effect.

It is important to be aware that there is likely to be local prioritisation within the frontline healthcare workers group, but nevertheless all frontline healthcare workers should receive the vaccine as part of this group.

3. Speech and language therapists working as vaccinators – There is nothing to prevent SLTs volunteering to work as vaccinators in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines however, you should refer to the RCSLT guidance on redeployment and making best use of our professional skills.

Resources

If you are an RCSLT member, you can download an official letter as evidence of your key/critical worker status – you will have to be logged in to do so.

If you are an SLT in Northern Ireland, please see a letter from the Department of Health regarding vaccination. This letter is available to download for members – please log in for more information.

The HCPC has developed some guidance regarding scope of practice in this situation which can be accessed on their website.