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Valuable service takes “home grown” approach

Valuable service takes “home grown” approach

Date of release: 5 April 2023

Latest News: Charlotte Colesby
Charlotte Colesby, Speech and Language Therapy Services Manager

Speech and Language Therapy Services (SLT), which support patients across Wolverhampton’s communities, have taken an innovative approach to ensuring in-demand Specialists join their teams.

The services, run by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, encourage new graduates to come and work in the city and support their career development so that they can then become Specialists in this field.

Charlotte Colesby, Speech and Language Therapy Services Manager, said this ”home grown” approach is paying dividends at a time when staff shortages are being felt across the country.

“We are extremely proud of the services we offer to adults and children and work hard to be an innovative and flexible team,” she said.

“We are geographically fortunate to be close to Birmingham City University which delivers the SLT undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship routes into our profession. In turn, this means that we are attractive to those wishing to stay in the area they’ve been at university. But attracting Specialists is a real challenge so that’s why we came up with the idea of growing our own, and growing our own Highly Specialist SLTs too.

“This solution not only shows RWT is an attractive place to work as we encourage progression, but it also means people joining our teams are more likely to want to stay in a supportive environment such as ours as we value our colleagues.”

The SLT services work with adults and children with communication and swallowing needs. They work with patients in critical care, on the Neonatal Unit, those who have had a stroke or head and neck cancer, children across all of the schools in Wolverhampton, Outpatients, the community and in people’s homes.

RWT has also invested in its services over the last five years. There are now dedicated SLTs in Critical Care, Neonatal and across the general wards at New Cross Hospital. 

The Trust is also working actively with One Wolverhampton to address the current demand-capacity gap for children’s SLT provision as more than 3,000 children are on the caseload.

Charlotte, who has been an NHS SLT for more than 30 years, works with pre-school children. 

She added: “My favourite times are when a child I’m working with has communicated successfully for the first time or even said their first word - the child, parent and setting are all so delighted! It is a tremendously rewarding role.”

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham