§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what plans he has to increase the number of speech therapists in Wales;
(2) how many speech therapy posts in Wales are currently unfilled.
§ Mr. Nicholas Bennett
Information on the current number of unfilled speech therapy posts in Wales is not held centrally. However, the results of the 1990 annual manpower resource planning (MRP) exercise carried out by Welsh district health authorities indicated a shortage of 27 speech therapists across Wales as at September 1989.
The extent and location of training provision for speech therapy in Wales is being considered along with that for other health care professions in the light of the manpower resource planning results and the new arrangements to be introduced for the planning and funding of certain pre-registration education and training at the all-Wales level.
In the short term, speech therapy shortages are being addressed by my Department through the sponsorship of students. As a result of Welsh Office funding in 1990 and 1991 an additional 10 speech therapy students are being sponsored by Welsh health authorities on the understanding that they work for at least two years in Wales on completion of their training.