§ 12. Mr. Pattie
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present cost of providing speech therapy in the National Health Service.
§ Dr. Owen
The cost of providing speech therapy services is not available centrally, but the cost of employing speech therapists in the National Health Service in England is estimated to be about £3.3 million a year.
§ Mr. Pattie
In addition to the question of costs, can the Minister say what is being done to encourage the area health authorities to appoint chief speech therapists and thereby establish a proper career structure, and what is being done to promote the speech therapy tapes for rehabilitation?
§ Dr. Owen
I take the view that what share of total resources can or should be 218 devoted to speech therapy, as in many other areas, must be the responsibility of the health authorities to determine in the light of the resource restraints under which they are operating. We have made it clear that we attach importance to speech therapy but that it is one of the many priorities which are pressing for extra resources.