Giving Voice

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Speech, Sir Alan, and some Sausage Rolls!

On Friday, Sir Alan Beith, MP, visited the Speech and Language Therapy service in Berwick and I went along too. It was my first ever trip to Berwick (!) and I quite enjoyed the drive up to the other end of my beautiful county of Northumberland (I was lucky that the roads were pretty quiet so it only took about an hour). I don't know why I haven't been up to Berwick before as it's a lovely place :-)

Sir Alan arrived at Berwick Infirmary and was greeted by Sue Welsh, Head of Therapies and Daljit Lally, Executive Director of Adult Care. He then came along to the speech and language therapy department where two service users (a parent of a child with a stammer and a man who has aphasia following a stroke), two speech and language therapists and I met him.

Sue gave a short presentation explaining the value of SLT and outlining the Giving Voice campaign. We then had an informal group discussion with Sir Alan about the variety of work Speech and Language Therapists do.

Sir Alan was surprised at the variety of work speech and language therapists do on a daily basis. He said he was aware that SLT’s work with children who have speech difficulties, but he wasn’t aware of lots of the other work we do (such as work around language and swallowing). He enjoyed talking to the service users (who were both very positive about their experience of speech and language therapy) and told us he felt he was much more informed about the work we do.

Sir Alan, stayed with us for lunch (which was a lovely spread of sausage rolls, sandwiches and fresh fruit) and our discussions continued. Before he left, Sir Alan said he was beginning to think about how life would be for him if he was unable to speak, and realised how he wouldn’t be able to do his job in the same way and how different his life would be. Fortunately, for Sir Alan this was hypothetical, but for thousands of people every single day this is a reality.  

Following the discussion, a photographer took some photos of Sir Alan with the team to use for publicity, and newspaper coverage is due to follow (in the Berwick Advertiser and the health supplement of the Evening Chronicle).

Sir Alan will be meeting with Sue as part of the Mass Mobilisation on Tuesday. Now I’d best go and check I have everything for London as I’m travelling tomorrow, ready to meet my MP, Ian Lavery on Tuesday.

Check out the advice from RCSLT about using Twitter to spread the word about Mass Mobilisation.

Even if you aren’t heading down to London on Tuesday you can still help to spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. Let’s see how much we can Give Voice together!!

Sir Alan and I
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.

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