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Airedale Hospital offers stammer support nationwide

Airedale Hospital offers stammer support nationwide

Published at 8:01am 5th November 2016. (Updated at 2:46pm 7th November 2016)

Speech and language therapists at Airedale Hospital are helping people across the country who stammer. 

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 secure a successful bid for £73,000 to deliver an on-screen service. 

The team will use a video link to offer support and advice. 

Their project has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its £1.5 million innovation programme, Innovating for Improvement.

The Trust says there is a national shortage of specialist speech and language services to help people who stammer and this first large-scale pilot of its kind will offer help to adults who are unable to access therapy locally.

Initially, between 40 and 60 participants will be identified through the BSA’s helpline to take part in the project, which will run for a year from April 2017.

The service will then be evaluated by researchers in the Speech and Language Sciences Department at Leeds Beckett University in order to produce recommendations for development of future practice.

If it proves a success, the service could also be adapted to other health services, social care and paediatrics.

The aim is to help adults who don’t have access to local services to manage their stammering and also improve their confidence, education and employment opportunities, so that they can participate in everyday life on an equal footing.

It follows the inspirational story of 22-year-old Bethany Watson, from Sutton-in-Craven, who with the help of speech and language therapy, recently landed her dream job of being a nurse.

Stephanie Burgess, senior speech and language therapist at Airedale Hospital, who has experience of using telemedicine as part of her service, said: "I'm so pleased and excited that the Health Foundation is going to fund this project, as it will benefit many more people who are struggling to get the help they need, which is vital to reduce the impact that stammering can have on many aspects of their lives.

"If it is successful, we are committed to sharing our learning with other trusts and national networks, so that they can reach out to others who are not achieving their full potential due to a scarcity of specialist face-to-face services."

Sarah Henderson, associate director from the Health Foundation, added: "We are very excited to be working with such a high calibre of teams, who all have great innovative ideas. As an organisation, we are keen to support innovation at the frontline across all sectors of health and care services, and I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their ideas over the next year.

"Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and impact of the teams' innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of healthcare, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK."

The Digital Care Hub at Airedale Hospital delivers a telemedicine service in over 400 care homes and around 30 prisons across the country.

More information about the programme at