Unite calls for people in Cumbria to join campaign against cuts in SALT budget


Parents and schools in Cumbria are being urged to speak up against swingeing cuts to the speech and language therapy (SALT) services which could hit children with communication difficulties.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust wants to save more than £250,000 from the SALT budget which could see very experienced therapists being made redundant by the end of the year.

Unite is calling on the parents and schools in the Barrow, Carlisle, Kendal, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington areas to strongly campaign against the cuts being planned by the trust.

The trust employs 36 speech and language therapists who look after children with stammers, communication difficulties, and have trouble eating and drinking.

Unite regional officer Alan McGuckin said: “These cuts are being driven by financial diktats and not the needs of the nearly 500,000 people covered by the trust in Cumbria.

“The plan is to replace highly experienced therapists with years of knowledge by the end of the year with therapists with less experience, who will operate a basic screening service. However, the trust is being reticent as to the numbers that will be involved.

“You don’t have to be a genius to work out that services to some of the most disadvantaged children in Cumbria will be hit.

“The consultation process is being rushed through and Unite is asking for parents, teachers and school governors to campaign to stop the dismantlement of this vitally important service.”

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The Cumbria situation is deeply worrying, as it is another example of the direction of travel for the NHS in England under this government.

“Services will be either be stripped of cash, as appears to be happening in Cumbria, or they will be privatised which will also mean job losses and a severe reduction in service provision.

“The picture nationally is grim and will get worse.”

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