Speech and language therapists work with babies, children, young people, and adults who have speech, language, communication, or eating and drinking difficulties.

Therapists work in the community in a wide range of settings. These include:

  • family homes
  • community clinics
  • hospitals
  • schools
  • nurseries
  • children's centres

We work in partnership with a range of other agencies including Education, Early Years Services, Social Services, and the Voluntary Sector.

We provide comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, intervention and management of service users of all age groups with communication difficulties or dysphagia (difficulties with eating and drinking) to achieve and maintain people's maximum potential. Managing dysphagia well in the community helps reduce secondary complications and hospital admissions.

We also support other colleagues to manage service users safely and effectively by offering training, supervision and support on a planned and ad hoc basis. Speech and Language Therapy in MPFT offers a varied and interesting role, with much opportunity to develop and grow.

What sort of work can you do in Speech and Language Therapy at MPFT?

Speech and Language Therapy provides services to children and adults who have communication or eating, drinking, and swallowing difficulties. These difficulties can be associated with the following:

  • Delayed or disordered speech or language
  • cleft palate
  • hearing impairment
  • learning disabilities
  • degenerative conditions:
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Parkinson's
    • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Stroke
  • Head injury
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Voice disorders
  • Dysfluency
  • Mental Health

The basis of these communication or eating and swallowing problems may be congenital, structural, functional, developmental, or acquired.

What qualifications do I need to work in Speech and Language Therapy? 

This varies depending on your role.

How can I find a job in Speech and Language Therapy at MPFT?

All vacancies at MPFT are advertised on the NHS Jobs website.

Can I get Work Experience or Shadowing in Speech and Language Therapy at MPFT?

Yes, work experience or shadowing is not just for external students. MPFT staff can also enquire with other teams to experience work in a different area from their own.

Useful Links

  • The NHS Health Careers website has lots of useful information about what it's like to work in a health role, whether in the NHS, a local authority, national Government, voluntary or community sectors.
  • The Institute of Apprenticeships works with employers and Government to provide apprenticeships across England.
  • Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online facilitates the development of apprenticeship standards for use in the healthcare sector.
  • The WOW Show is an online channel creating real-life encounters with the world of work to inspire young people about their futures.

Band 2 Speech and Language Support Therapy Worker
Band 3 Speech and Language Therapy Assistant
Band 4 Speech and Language Therapy Assistant Practitioner
Band 5

Speech and Language Therapist

Band 6 Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Band 7 Advanced Speech and Language Therapist
Band 8 Advanced Clinical Practitioner (this title must only be used where the staff member has completed the ACP programme/portfolio), Consultant Speech and Language Therapist

Summary of role

  • Supports the speech and language therapy team
  • Assists speech and language therapists to carry out duties
  • Records patient information

Qualifications

  • Qualifications and Credit Framework QCF / NVQ / apprenticeship level 2 in related subject Care Certificate is completed in all 15 areas within 12weeks (pro rata) of commencement of contract.

Main Activities

  • Take telephone calls from patients / carers with communication disorders of various types
  • Provide clerical support, including typing of correspondence, reports etc. as required
  • Exercise judgement when dealing with patient and carers’ enquiries, including complaints, and pass these on to more senior colleagues as needed
  • To assist in the preparation of speech and language therapy sessions (e.g. setting up the environment and equipment in preparation of intervention).  Also collates and repares worksheets / hand-outs
  • To carry out routine intervention under the direct supervision of speech and language therapist

Competencies

  • Monitor and manage the environment and resources during and after clinical/therapeutic activities
  • Administer appointments
  • Develop and sustain productive working relationships with colleagues
  • Use office equipment
  • Support individuals undergoing healthcare activities

Summary of role

  • Undertakes implementation of speech and language therapy under the direction of speech and language therapists
  • Records patient information
  • Supports speech and language therapists in the treatment of speech and language difficulties or disorders of clients with communication disorders and dysphagia
  • This role may involve some clerical duties

Qualifications

  • NVQ 3 or equivalent in related subject
  • Care Certificate is completed in all 15 areas within 12weeks (pro rata) of commencement of contract

Main Activities

  • To assist in the implementation of prescribed programmes e.g. carrying out activities for both individual and group therapy.
  • To assist in the preparation of speech and language therapy sessions (e.g. setting up the environment and equipment in preparation of intervention).  Also collates and prepares worksheets or hand-outs.
  • To carry out routine intervention under the direct supervision of speech and language therapist.
  • To liaise closely with members of the speech and language therapy team i.e. providing verbal and written feedback about therapy activities.
  • To gather and collate information to enable speech and language therapist to liaise with others.
  • To liaise with other staff and clients as required. This will include liaison with nursing or medical staff under the supervision of a speech and language therapist.
  • To provide general administrative support e.g. booking appointments and transport, filing, maintaining inventories, ordering equipment, inputting on electronic patient record and taking messages.

Competencies

  • Provide support to individuals to develop their communication skills
  • Enable individuals from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds to access Speech and Language Therapy services
  • Provide advice and information to individuals on how to manage their own condition
  • Support individuals with specific communication needs
  • Contribute to effective group care

Summary of role

  • Implements SLT programmes devised by speech and language therapists for groups and individuals. Modifies approaches and activities within programmes to meet requirements of clients.
  • Develops group activities to meet defined intervention needs. 

Qualifications

  • NVQ 4 or Foundation Degree in related subject.
  • Care Certificate is completed in all 15 areas within 12 weeks (pro rata) of commence of contract.

Main Activities

  • To work independently, seeking support as required.
  • To use initiative to develop and implement prescribed programmes of care to meet the needs of clients.
  • To modify therapeutic approaches and activities to meet client’s needs.
  • To develop and independently run therapy groups.
  • To assist in the preparation of speech and language therapy sessions (e.g. setting up the environment and equipment in preparation of intervention).  Also collates and prepares worksheets or handouts.
  • To carry out routine intervention under the direction of a speech and language Therapist.
  • To provide advice to clients, carers, and other health care professionals regarding the management and care of clients.
  • To be responsible for planning and day-to-day management of own caseload.
  • To have a sound knowledge of a range of speech and language therapy interventions.
  • To liaise closely with members of the speech and language therapy team i.e. providing verbal and written feedback about therapy activities. 
  • To gather and collate information to enable speech and language therapist to liaise with others.

Competencies

  • Obtain a patient or client history
  • Undertake protocol-guided swallow screening or assessments
  • Enable individuals to use assistive devices and assistive technology
  • Facilitate the individual's management of their condition and treatment plan
  • Contribute to the discharge of an individual into the care of another service

Summary of role

  • Assesses & treats own caseload of patients or clients & maintains associated records
  • Liaises with other agencies e.g. education, social services
  • Provides communication advice to other professions
  • Manages time and caseload efficiently
  • Delivers health education
  • Supervise SLT assistants.

Qualifications

  • Degree in Speech and Language Therapy (or equivalent)
  • Newly qualified SLTs are required to complete their preceptorship  (competency framework to guide transition to certified RCSLT membership) during the first 12 months of employment

Main Activities

  • To provide speech and language therapy on the basis of clinical need.
  • To assess, diagnose, develop and implement programmes of care and treatment to meet the needs of clients with communication difficulties.
  • To provide appropriate evidence-based outcomes following assessment and treatment.
  • To maintain up-to-date, accurate case notes in line with professional standards and local Trust policies.
  • To provide advice to clients, carers and other healthcare professionals regarding the management and care of clients.
  • To liaise with staff of other disciplines and to offer professional advice as required by other agencies and/or carers.
  • To participate in multidisciplinary or agency case conferences and school reviews and contribute to a child's statement of educational needs as appropriate
  • To be involved in the management of clients with dysphagia as appropriate to your level of   knowledge and skills, and refer on for specialist assessment. 
  • To ensure that clients and their families or carers are involved in the planning of care plans wherever possible.
  • To adapt practice to meet individual client’s circumstances, including due regard for cultural and linguistic differences. 
  • To maintain sensitivity at all times to the emotional needs of the client and their carers, in particular when imparting potentially distressing information regarding the nature of the client's difficulties and implications of the same.
  • To demonstrate the ability to reflect on practice with peers.

Competencies

  • Assess an individual's communication skills and abilities
  • Establish a diagnosis of an individual's health condition
  • Select assessment and investigative techniques/procedures to meet individuals' needs
  • Implement a treatment plan
  • Discharge and transfer individuals from a service or your care

Summary of role

  • Assesses, treats and manages own caseload of clients and maintains associated paperwork
  • Specialist in clinical area
  • May participate in research in clinical area
  • Advises and provides clinical support to other therapists or staff on SLT issues
  • Supervises work of SLT staff and students

Qualifications

  • Degree in Speech and Language Therapy or equivalent.
  • Basic Post Graduate RCSLT accredited dysphagia course or equivalent.
  • Registration with HCPC.

Main Activities

  • To provide specialist speech and language therapy on the basis of clinical need.
  • To assess, diagnose, develop and implement programmes of care and treatment to meet the needs of clients with complex communication disorders or dysphagia.
  • To provide a differential diagnosis on the basis of evidence from assessments.
  • To provide appropriate evidence-based outcomes following assessment and treatment.
  • To participate in case conferences or reviews
  • To contribute to interagency or multi-disciplinary team building.
  • To be involved in the management of clients with dysphagia as appropriate to your level of knowledge and skills, and refer on for specialist assessment.
  • To supervise speech and language therapists, assistants or technical instructors.
  • To ensure that clients and their families are involved in the planning of  care plans wherever possible.
  • To adapt practice to meet individual client's circumstances, including due regard for cultural and linguistic differences. 
  • To maintain sensitivity at all times to the emotional needs of the client and their carers, in particular when imparting potentially distressing information regarding the nature of the client’s difficulties and implications of the same.
  • To participate in student training as required
  • To provide mentoring to more junior speech and language therapists.
  • To participate in the development and delivery of specialist training (informal and formal) to others in area of clinical expertise with and without support.
  • To deal with initial complaints sensitively, avoiding escalation where possible.
  • To deliver a programme based service acting in a consultative or advisory capacity

Competencies

  • Initiate, and participate in, networks and discussion groups
  • Undertake a comprehensive dysphagia assessment
  • Develop a dysphagia care plan
  • Represent your area of responsibility in meetings
  • Provide leadership in your area of responsibility

Summary of role

  • Takes a leading role in assessment and treatment of specialist, wide ranging, complex caseload of patients and clients and maintains associated records
  • Leads on audit in area of specialism. Collects and interprets data.
  • Lead on implementation of national guidance in specialist area
  • Undertakes research in a specialist area(s)
  • Supervises work of other SLTs, assistants, students
  • May undertake teaching in specialist area for qualified SLTs or other professionals
  • Represents the SLT department at various meetings
  • SLTs will lead on the development and review of training programmes

Qualifications

  • Degree in Speech and Language Therapy or equivalent
  • Post Graduate qualification in RCSLT accredited dysphagia course or equivalent
  • Registration with HCPC
  • Modules at Masters level that equates to at least half a Masters qualification

Main Activities

  • To provide highly specialist speech and language therapy to children on the basis of clinical need.
  • To provide highly specialist assessment, diagnosis, and develop and implement programmes of care and treatment to meet the needs of clients with complex communication needs e.g. receptive or expressive language and speech disorders.
  • To provide appropriate evidence based outcomes following assessment and treatment.
  • To provide highly specialist advice to clients, carers and other healthcare professionals (regarding the management and care of clients).
  • To liaise with staff of other disciplines and to offer professional advice as required by other agencies or carers.
  • To participate in case conferences and reviews as appropriate, and contribute to a child's statement of educational needs.
  • To use knowledge to recognise when further investigations/assessment into feeding and swallowing difficulties is required and to advise on appropriate action.
  • To supervise speech and language therapy assistants or technical instructors.
  • To ensure that clients are involved in the planning of their care plans wherever possible.
  • To adapt practice to meet individual client circumstances, including due regard for cultural and linguistic difference.
  • To maintain sensitivity at all times to the emotional needs of the client and their carers, in particular when imparting potentially distressing information regarding the nature of the client's difficulties and implications of the same.
  • To participate fully in student placements including examination placements.
  • To provide second opinions to colleagues.

Competencies

  • Undertake a specialist dysphagia assessment
  • Translate research and development findings into practice
  • Develop clinical protocols for delivery of services
  • Give presentations to groups
  • Interpret the findings of healthcare investigations

Summary of role

Team leaders work as operational managers and are responsible for the first line management and wellbeing of the overall team and individuals within it although they may not necessarily share the same professional background as the people they are managing. Team leaders ensure the efficient day to day running of clinical services and the clinical environment through appropriate planning and delegation. They report directly to area or neighbourhood managers and implement local strategy, policy and procedure. They are responsible for identifying gaps within the team regarding:

  • Quality of service
  • Budget and performance deficits
  • Team leaders ensure the development of the team and its individuals is in line with the trust vision via appropriate supervision, peer review and appraisal. They are often the first point of contact for service users and carers and develop relationships with key stakeholders such as GP’s and commissioners. 

Qualifications

  • Degree level professional qualification – Health or Social Care.
  • Evidence of post graduate qualification.

Main Activities

  • Be a Team Leader and have relevant skills, knowledge and competence in team or line management. They will manage a group of health and social care staff within a designated neighbourhood to support people and their families.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that Health and Social Care services are delivered to a high standard.
  • Demonstrate initiative and be creative in finding solutions to problems.
  • Have supervisory, training and leadership responsibilities and have responsibility for team performance and service developments and improvements
  • To manage conflicting priorities within a team and find effective solutions.
  • To identify, though regular audit, any gaps in quality of service, any budget or performance deficits and processes.
  • To identify and manage risks to service delivery.
  • To act as authorised signatory for services, staff and expenses.
  • To ensure the right skills, experience and level of staffing resource are in place to maximise the effectiveness of the team.
  • To plan, organise and allocate team activity and workload including movement to cover staff absence within own team and other teams when necessary.
  • To authorise and plan annual leave to ensure uniform provision of services throughout the year.
  • To monitor sickness and absence and carry out sickness reviews and referrals to Occupational Health as per the Sickness Absence Policy

Competencies

  • Quality assure work in your team
  •  Practice of others
  • Quality assure work in your team
  • Provide supervision to other individuals
  • Manage people’s performance at work
  • Develop clinical protocols for delivery of services

Summary of role

  • Takes lead role in assessment & treatment of specialist caseload of patients/clients; responsible for clinical governance
  • Provides second opinions/specialist advice/ teaching to other SLTs and other professionals
  • Undertakes research, development in specialist area; may devise and implement training programmes
  • Supervises/manages SLT staff

Qualifications

  • Degree in speech and language therapy or equivalent.
  • Post Graduate studies in RCSLT accredited dysphagia course or equivalent.
  • Masters qualification or equivalent in relevant area that will support the delivery of the service.
  • Registration with HCPC

Main Activities

  • To provide clinical advice for specialist area e.g. dysphagia, head and neck cancer in the trust ensuring that all members of the clinical teams have access to competency based framework for the understanding and care of clients within their specialist area through the provision of advice and consultation and dissemination of specialist knowledge, research and theory.
  • To assess, formulate intervention plans, treat and monitor highly complex cases.
  • Involve service users and carers where possible in the formulation of individual treatment interventions.
  • To evaluate intervention and outcomes systematically
  • To support the assessment, planning, treatment and monitoring of complex cases on behalf of less qualified/experienced therapists
  • To support speech and language therapists providing clinical advice
  • To provide specialist clinical and technical skills for interpretative assessment techniques and interventions, i.e. video fluoroscopy x-ray/FEES
  • To deliver a variety of quality training packages to carers, other clinical staff in order to support treatment programmes
  • To identify training needs of SLT staff
  • To continue to develop own clinical skills and contribute to the development of others.
  • To provide advice and support to carers, families, staff and other relevant agencies enabling others to facilitate eating and drinking skills.
  • To mentor and joint work with less experienced/qualified therapists on dysphagia cases
  • To support the Trust in developing expertise in the area of speciality by contributing to pre and post graduate teaching programmes
  • To support service managers in planning, prioritising and development of services
  • To supervise, support, train and organise the work allocated to SLT staff, to ensure they carry out appropriate tasks and maintain therapy programmes.
  • To act as specialist advisor in the investigation of complaints or disciplinary action regarding interventions for specialist area.
  • To be responsible for the planning, developing and implementing the R & D for within the trust with a wider impact wider, i.e. nationally and internationally.
  • Secure appropriate research funding.

Competencies

  • Conduct investigations in selected research and development topics
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures
  • Provide reports on endoscopic procedures
  • Develop clinical protocols for delivery of services
  • Translate research and development findings into practice

Summary of role

  • Responsible for the development, provision and coordination of professional leadership and advice across a range of integrated clinical networks within AHP professions. Be the representative for AHPs and will act as the public face and ambassador for them for the organisation.
  • Through a network of key relationships they will provide professional advice for major changes in clinical practice, set and improve standards, respond to best practice guidelines and innovate services. 
  • The AHP Professional Lead will ensure the highest possible standards of non-medical clinical care across the Trust and provide advice on all non-medical clinical matters across the organisation.  They will support and influence governance, service delivery and quality improvements, education and training, and workforce development – in particular play a key role in the quality impact assessment process for the Trust Cost Improvement schemes by providing professional advice to the Director of Nursing.

Qualifications

  • Degree in one of the AHP professions.
  • Post Graduate studies in accredited courses or equivalent including in leadership.
  • Masters qualification or equivalent in relevant area that will support the delivery of AHP services.
  • Registration with HCPC.

Main Activities

  • Be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring communication networks and channels across the AHP professions and for communication to staff and managers, ensuring that staff have access to appropriate supervision and support networks, in conjunction with service managers.
  • Support the work of the Quality Improvement Team to ensure on-going service improvement is core to all clinical services.
  • Be instrumental in improving clinical practice and standards.
  • Ensure that all practice, policy and strategy are based on relevant and up-to-date knowledge and expertise.
  • Ensure consistency of practice of community services across the Trust
  • Work in liaison with the Quality Team to support a framework for quality assurance across clinical teams
  • Ensure patients are at the centre of service development.
  • Provide advice and guidance on professional issues.
  • Work in an integrated way with operational divisions to ensure best practice and patient safety are be maintained.

Competencies

  • Support the development of policies and strategies for developing and modernising clinical practice and services throughout the Trust in order to ensure safe, high quality health care services for our patients.
  • Liaise with educational providers in conjunction with workforce managers to lead and co-ordinate workforce planning and development agenda within all non-medical areas to enable service provision and development.
  • To promote research awareness and contribute to the research agenda.
  • To provide a professional overview of clinical services across the geographical area covered by the Partnership Trust representing professional groups and local needs.
  • To provide senior visible clinical and professional leadership to empower teams.

Within MPFT we offer a range of CPD and career opportunities to progress in speech and language therapy through our career framework.

The HCPC define CPD as "a range of learning activities through which health and care professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice".

CPD is the way professionals continue to learn and develop throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up to date and are able to work safely, legally and effectively.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists CPD Standards

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website has guidance on CPD standards.

Broadly, this is a list of different CPD activities put into categories designed to help inform your CPD choices as part of planning your career development. These activities are relevant across the range of SLT workforce settings and are mapped to the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework.

MPFT will be looking to offer a range of apprenticeships for speech and language therapy all of which can be found on the Skills for Health website.

In addition to this, MPFT supports our speech and language therapists to develop into Advanced Clinical Practitioners, Consultant Speech and Language Therapists, and develop their carers in research.

Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7

Healthcare Support Worker

Senior Healthcare Support Worker

 

Team/ Leader  Supervisor

 

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner

 

Operational/ Department Manager

Speech and Language Therapy Degree

Advanced Clinical Practitioner

 

Leadership (Masters Degree)

Speech and Language Therapy Apprenticeship Pathway

Hello, I'm Rachel Leighton and I'm a newly qualified Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist.

What do you do in your role?

Support children and families to develop a range of communication skills. I work with a range of different communication needs such as children who have difficulties with pre-verbal skills (e.g. turn taking, eye contact), children who have difficulties following instructions or using words; to children who have difficulties producing speech sounds. Children may also not currently have a way to communicate and we support them to find an alternative way to express themselves (e.g. communication book, Picture Exchange Communication System).

Have you always worked in this role?

No, I started in this role in 2019 after finishing my university degree. This is my first Speech and Language Therapist role, previously I worked in a range of educational settings, from nurseries to Year 5.

What other roles and departments have you worked in during your career?

I have worked in a mix of mainstream and special educational needs schools supporting teachers.

What motivated you to move roles?

I wanted to find a role where I worked one-to-one with children but continued to support families and teachers with their roles. I have also always had an interest in biology and learnt that this was a part of this role. I discovered Speech and Language Therapy and it was the perfect opportunity to tie all this together.

What support helped you to make this change?

Great information from universities and I read about Speech and Language Therapist experiences in their role. This helped me to know that this was the right role for me.

What do you value about progressing your career at MPFT?

I value that the trust follows the same behaviours as my own and feel that there are good standards to uphold. I work in a supportive team who encourage on-going learning and continual professional development. Having these opportunities encourages me to keep developing and progressing in my career.

Jen Summerfield.jpg

Hello, I'm Jen Summerfield and I'm an Advanced Speech and Language Therapist.

What do you do in your role?

I have a clinical caseload, working with patients who have speech/language and/or swallowing difficulties. My role also has an element of clinical leadership for the South SLT service, which includes clinical supervision, supporting with service development, providing support with complex clinical cases.

Have you always worked in this role?

I have been in this role for just over 18 months, prior to that I was a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist which was a solely clinical role.

What other roles and departments have you worked in during your career?

I have always worked as a Speech and Language Therapist, and over the years have developed into my current role. My experience has allowed me to learn and grow as a clinician, and each day provides its own clinical challenges and opportunities to develop.

What motivated you to move roles?

My latest move into a clinical leadership role was motivated by my want to support others, develop the service and also improve patient care.

What support helped you to make this change?

My Managers have always been very supportive in my own development, and this has helped me to push myself into new challenges. I hope that I also instil this quality into others, as I believe that staff who are fulfilled and believed in, will inevitably provide the best patient care.

What do you value about progressing your career at MPFT?

My job is an important part of my life, and having that job satisfaction contributes to my overall wellbeing. In my current role I feel influential in both my clinical work and also within clinical leadership, which for me is really important.

What would be your best piece of advice to others seeking a career in Speech and Language Therapy?

To gain as much experience as you can to find out about the role. Speech and Language Therapy is an amazing and life changing career. There will be moments with patients that you can never forget, simply because you have been a part of that person’s journey.

Kathryn Bellshaw

AHP Lead

Wendy Hollands

Advanced Allied Health Professions Lead Practitioner

Helen Booth

Operational Lead (Adults)

Elizabeth Salvage

Operational Lead (Children)

Get in Contact

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Trust Headquarters, St. George's Hospital, Corporation Street, Stafford ST16 3SR

E-mail: enquiries@mpft.nhs.uk 

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0300 790 7000
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