11 July 2023

Shortages and service cuts continue to be an issue for speech and language therapy in Scotland with some children having to wait more than two years.  

The RCSLT Scotland team have been listening to the concerns of members and engaging with politicians and key decision makers about these important issues.  

Head of RCSLT Scotland, Glenn Carter, was recently featured on BBC Scotland to highlight the problems in children’s services. The piece featured Suzy Paine, mother to 5-year-old Isabella who has a speech disorder and had to wait two years to receive therapy.  

Glenn Carter said: “This is the tip of the iceberg. Long waiting times for speech and language therapy are widespread across Scotland and they’re increasing. Speech and language therapists are working flat out to meet the needs of these families, but on one hand they’re dealing with unprecedented levels of demand and on the other hand they’re managing high vacancies and significant funding cuts.” 

“We are clear that unless we act now, there will be a generation of children who experience significant harm in their mental health, their ability to learn and their future life chances.” 

Suzy and Isabella’s story is troublingly familiar, and we know from our recent vacancy and recruitment survey how shortages in the profession are impacting services with vacancy rates at 14% in children’s services and 8% in adult services. In addition, funding for children’s speech and language therapy services are particularly vulnerable to cuts. We are working with key partners to seek a partnership agreement between health, education and Scottish Government to address this.  

We have also just reopened the vacancy survey to monitor and track further trends, so if you manage a speech and language therapy service, please take a moment to complete the questionnaire.