HC Deb 05 April 2001 vol 366 cc267-8W
Ms Perham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase recruitment and improve retention of speech and language therapists. [155420]

Mr. Denham

We are implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention for all staff, including speech and language therapists. Examples include investing in fair pay, encouraging the National Health Service to become a better employer, increasing training commissions, attracting former staff back to the NHS, encouraging flexible retirement, and supporting more effective, collaborative international recruitment where appropriate. The Department is working with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to implement these measures.

The Secretary of State recently announced that allied health professionals deciding to return to the NHS, including speech and language therapists, will be eligible for free refresher training, a payment of £1,000 to support them while undertaking refresher training and assistance with childcare, travel and books.