NHS Reforms and the potential opportunities for Speech and Language Therapy Clients
NHS Reforms: the reasons why
The Department of Health has stated three main reasons for the drive to modernise the NHS:
- To balance the rising demand for health services, created by an ageing population with long-term conditions, with increases in treatment costs driven by the growing availability of treatment options
- To improve the health services available to the general public
- To improve the state of the public finances
The Health and Social Care Act 2012
The coalition government introduced the Health and Social Care Act 2012 in order to allow the NHS to address the challenges it is currently facing. This Act puts clinicians in charge of shaping services required by patients via the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups which have replaced Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts.
CCGs have the function of commissioning services for the purposes of the health service in England. They are made up predominantly of GPs. CCGs can commission services from the NHS, voluntary and independent organisations. The act also enshrines in legislation the patient’s right to choose the service which they feel is most appropriate to their need including from the independent or voluntary sectors, as long as they meet NHS costs. Additionally, providers can alter the way in which they work in order to deliver services.
Potential Impact for individuals requiring Speech and Language Therapy Services
The full impact of the re-organisation of the NHS is difficult to assess as changes are still being implemented. Nonetheless, cuts to SLT services across the UK have already been reported. However, this also represents an opportunity for individuals requiring speech and language therapy and their advocates to exploit this re-organisation of the NHS and demand better provision of services.
Commissioning of many speech and language therapy services at a local level will be undertaken by CCGs. Whilst GPs may not necessarily have the expertise to understand the full range of services that SLTs can offer their patients, patients can ask their GPs to commission SLT services from any qualified provider. This means that if you want a service from an independent speech and language therapist you have the right to ask your GP to fund this.
How ITS can help you if you would like your GP to fund independent therapy:
ITS would be happy to provide you with evidence to promote and justify the benefits of the service that we can offer. This includes the cost saving benefit offered e.g. by getting people back to work or using early intervention to resolve communication difficulties as soon as possible to prevent the problem getting worse and incurring higher treatment costs in the long term.
Furthermore, we can simplify access to our service, by invoicing GPs directly for all treatment programmes for which funding has been agreed.
How can I contact ITS?
Telephone: 0845 838 291. We are happy to provide a complimentary telephone consultation.
Confidential Enquiry Form
All Party Parliamentary Group on Speech and Language Difficulties (APPG). (2013) The links between speech, language and communication needs and social disadvantage. [Online] URL http://www.rcslt.org/governments/docs/appg_report_feb_2013 Accessed 18/4/2013
Czernik, A. (11/4/2013). Mia, 7, wants to learn and play. But instead she is locked in her silent prison. The Guardian. [Online, blog] URL
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/the-northerner/2013/apr/11/mia-special-educational-needs-nhs-cuts?INTCMP=SRCH Accessed 16/4/2012
Marsh, K., Bertranou, E., Suominen, H. & Venkatachalam, M. (2010) Matrix Report. An economic evaluation of speech and language therapy.
Pring, J. (25/1/2013) NHS reforms ‘open door to better communication services’. Disability News Service [Online] URL
http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/01/nhs-reforms-open-door-to-better-communication-services/ Accessed 18/4/2013
Written on behalf of Integrated Treatment Services.
I.T.S is a private Speech and Language Therapy service based in Leicestershire, East Midlands and Southern England. It specialises in providing highly-skilled Speech and Language Therapists, but also associates with other therapeutic professionals, including Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists and Arts Psychotherapists