An economic evaluation of speech and language therapy
It is estimated that nearly 20% of the population may experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives. Communication difficulties are strongly prevalent in children and older people and can be related to, for example, head and neck cancer, brain injury, learning difficulties and hearing impairment.
One in 10 children have a speech and language difficulty and it is the most common disability in childhood. Nearly 30-40% of stroke survivors have communication or swallowing complications requiring speech and language therapy. In the context of increased budgetary pressures, evidence of return on investment is critical to help guide effective spending decisions.
To this end, the RCSLT commissioned Matrix Evidence to review the evidence and undertake an economic evaluation of providing speech and language therapy to three specific groups – children with SLI, children with autism and stroke survivors – in order to pinpoint the benefits generated by speech and language therapy for these cohorts in relation to the costs of provision.
Previous work has demonstrated the value of economic analysis to decision making. Consideration of costs and the value of benefits may produce a different assessment of policies than just considering the effect of a policy. For instance, a policy that was considered effective may not have a positive net benefit. In summary, the net benefits of speech and language therapy – which can be defined in terms of cost savings for health and social care services, improved quality of life, and productivity gains – exceed the costs of its provision.
Read the Matrix report: An economic evaluation of speech and language therapy
Read the Observer newspaper article: The King’s Speech: spending cuts threaten £765m legacy of speech and language therapy