National award for Airedale Hospital's stammering therapy service

Airedale Hospital receiving digital and technology award

9:38am 7th December 2017

A special telemedicine service at Airedale Hospital 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 video link to their laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

The service was entered for the Guardian Public Service Awards and won the Digital and Technology category at a ceremony in London.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with the British Stammering Association to deliver the on-screen service, which was set up with funding from 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.

She said: "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 per cent 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."

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