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Speech and language therapists work with patients who have impaired speech, language or voice problems, or a combination of these. They can also help patients who have difficulty with feeding and swallowing.

These impairments and difficulties can have numerous and varied causes and be very complex. As a result, speech and language therapists work across a wide range of clinical specialities from ear, nose and throat surgery, maxillo-facial surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, critical care and care of the elderly to name but a few.

The therapists work across the multidisciplinary framework to assess, diagnose, manage and treat patients as well as offering advice, training and education to colleagues, carers and families.

Speech therapists are able to conduct video-fluoroscopic radiology and fibre-endoscopic studies to assist with diagnoses and therapy. Intervention aims to help patients function to their maximum potential and minimise the difficulties associated with these complex conditions and enable them to participate effectively in their daily environments.

The speech and language therapy service at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust leads a tracheostomy clinic for outpatients in the community living with tracheostomy tubes. The clinic provides support for patients to be self caring with tube changes and assistance when problems arise.

The clinic includes a speech therapist and nurse and is run concurrently with an ear, nose and throat consultant’s clinic should rapid medical access be required.