HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 c1088W
Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the nature and effect of staff shortages at the speech and language therapy service based at the Central Health Clinic in Southampton. [57086]

Ms Blears

The speech and language therapy service is managed by Southampton City Primary Care Trust (PCT) on behalf of several local PCTs including New Forest. The recruitment difficulties affecting the service are mirrored at a national level. The PCT is actively involved in "Improving Working Lives", a national initiative to attract people back to work and other initiatives to do everything possible to improve the recruitment and retention of therapists.

In view of the shortages, the PCT is focusing attention on priority areas such as in-patients, particularly those patients with swallowing problems, which could be potentially life threatening.