Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Chief Executive of the RCSLT declines to discuss our concerns

In July, we posted about a letter we had written to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists' Chief Executive, Kamini Gadhok. You can read our previous post here.

We raised serious concerns about some speech and langauge therapy practices which appear to arise consistently all over the country. We noted that the RCSLT was planning to develop new guidelines in relation to SEN work and we asked for the opportunity to share our views. As far as we are aware, existing SENDIST guidelines do not cover important areas like the common law duty of confidentiality and in many cases assume that a SLT will be acting for a local authority and not the parent.

We have now received a response and Ms Gadhok has confirmed we can publish it on our blog. The letter can be read here.

Ms Gadhok's response is profoundly disappointing and fails to engage with any of the questions we have raised. Further, Ms Gadhok completely ignores our offer to discuss these matters further and says instead:

"The RCSLT will take account of the issues you have raised in the updating and development of RCSLT specific guidance. However we are aware that, whilst we can provide guidance for the speech and language therapy profession, some of the issues you have raised such as data protection need to have a shared understanding across all professions and sectors."

Bizarrely, Ms Gadhok then says:

"For this reason, we hope that you will also contact other relevant organisations as you have already done with the Council for Disabled Children and others."

We think this response is poor. We do not understand what this matter has to do with the Council for Disabled Children but perhaps the RCSLT or the CDC could explain further.

We have written the following email to Ms Gadhok's PA and asked her to re-consider:

Dear X,

Many thanks for passing on this letter. 

We find this response deeply disappointing. Ms Gadhok has effectively ignored all of the points we have raised, including our request for a meeting to discuss these matters. Her letter seems to have conflated the very specific issues raised in relation to the conduct of speech and language therapists with the RCSLT's general role in the CFA reform process. We find this quite baffling. We did not write to Ms Gadhok about the RCSLT's role in the CFA process and we do not see how these issues relate to the CDC.

Ms Gadhok also suggests that we have raised "matters of interest to [us]". However, the points raised should clearly be of concern to the professional body to whom they are addressed. They record poor practices and are supported by the experience of parents and parent groups. To refuse to engage on them at all is neither inclusive nor progressive and it is antithetical to efective [sic] patient engagement. We believe it also, potentially, contradicts one of the RCSLT's core  "strategic objectives" (as stated in your last Annual Report) "to improve access and outcomes for service users". 

We note the comment that the RCSLT will be updating its guidance and we would like to know what the process for doing this will be. Will the RCSLT, for example, be taking legal advice on the guidance it provides? Will it be engaging parents? If so, we would like to be part of this process.

We trust this email will be passed on to Ms Gadhok and we would ask her to reconsider her position on engaging with us. In the meantime, could you confirm that you are happy for us to publish this letter on our blog?"

Ms Gadhok has agreed to our publication of this letter but we have heard nothing more. We intend to pursue this matter further as we think engagement with parents is important even if the issues raised are 'challenging' to those involved and that it is not good enough to push comments like this aside.

We shall keep you posted.

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