LOSS OF THERAPISTS WILL SEVER 'LIFELINE' Speech Therapy Cuts Will Alienate Sufferers from Society Says MP

Article excerpt

Byline: Les Reid

SPEECH and language therapists providing crucial help to disadvantaged children in Coventry fear for the service's future from further cuts.

Their concerns have now been taken up by Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham, who has launched a campaign in the Commons to protect speech therapy in the city and count r y.

The service helps a range of people - to the hard of hearing to those with a learning disability or a stammer - to overcome difficulties in communication.

For many, it is considered a crucial "lifeline" to enable them to participate in society.

The Labour MP says it is under threat from on-going council and NHS cuts, after government funding was slashed.

He has heard concerns from staff that five speech therapists in Coventry were made redundant this year due to council budget cuts, after the government ended a raft of grants. Three admin staff were also affected.

Mr Cunningham was also told five therapists' posts and two other admin workers are now potentially at risk if commissioned services do not continue next year.

Speech therapists fear many schools will no longer commission the service - amid schools transferring to academies.

Mr Cunningham has launched an early day motion which already has the backing of tens of cross-party MPs.

It calls for speech and language therapy to be protected in Coventry and the country - with the government looking to cut local authority budgets by 27 per cent by 2015, and huge plans for NHS re-organisation. …