National award for stammering therapy service
A special telemedicine service run by Airedale Hospital’s speech and language therapy service which helps people who stammer has scooped a national award.
Specialist speech and language therapist Stephanie Burgess runs the service, offering people across the country help with managing their stammer via videolink to their laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The innovative service was entered for the Guardian Newspaper Public Sector awards and won the Digital and Technology category at a ceremony on 28 November in London.
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with the British Stammering Association (BSA) – the UK’s national charity for adults and children who stammer – to deliver this on-screen service, set up with funding by the Health Foundation’s Innovating for Improvement programme. Currently in its pilot year, the service has recruited more than 50 people across the UK who can’t access specialist speech and language therapy locally. Stephanie’s aim is to help them to improve their confidence so that they can participate in everyday life on an equal footing.
Stephanie says:” The awards evening was a fantastic experience. There was a really lovely celebratory feel, and it was great to share all the wonderful things happening in public services at the moment, despite the huge financial squeezes we’re all enduring.
“I am so thrilled that we won in our category. It’s a testament to the hard work and passion of everyone in the team, and it’s great to be able to raise more awareness of stammering, which remains an incredibly invisible and misunderstood condition, despite affecting one percent of the adult population. We know that speech therapy can change lives, and this project is helping to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access therapy. As things stand, the funding for our project comes to an end at the end of March, so having this nationally recognised award will hopefully enable us to secure support for continuing it.”