A Totley dad is furious after being told his 6 year old son will be denied speech therapy by the NHS after assessment showed he was in need

A Totley dad has complained to the NHS about his son being denied speech therapy after he was identified as in need over a year ago.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 9:31 am
Mark was told by the speech therapy team that although Daniel would benefit from speech therapy, he would not be offered support.

Mark Anderson, aged 43, said that he wrote to the Speech and Language Therapy service to complain and see if his son’s file could be progressed again and was astounded by the response.

He was told that even although the service recognised his son, Daniel, aged 6, was in need and that lack of care would have a significant impact on his life, they would no longer be providing him with care.

Mark said: "I feel written off. They’re not prepared to do anything to mitigate the circumstances.

Mark is concerned that his son Daniel, who turns 7 next week, will not be able to keep up with his peers without support from the NHS

“My concern is that his development will continue to be stunted.

“He’s making some progress, but it could knock his confidence.

"We’ve just had his school report, academically he is behind the average.

“He will pick up that he isn’t as developed as some of his classmates.

“Potentially bullying is a concern.

In an official response to Mark’s complaint, Ruth Brown, acting Chief Executive, said: “In agreement with the local authority and Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Mainstream Schools S&LT Team can only offer appointments to children who are either newly referred or those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

"Unfortunately, Daniel does not meet either of these criteria. This means that, despite having communication needs, Daniel will not be seen for further reviews or intervention from the service at this time.”

Mark has complained to the ombudsman and submitted freedom of information requests to find out how many children like Daniel have been denied care, and to receive a copy of the minutes from the meeting where this decision was made.

Mark added: "They are not providing a service for people like Daniel.

“They are washing their hands of the whole section of kids they are supposed to be looking after.

“Daniel’s school had also contacted the service due to their concerns over his speech development.

“Daniel had last been assessed in February 2020, just before the first lockdown.

Mark said: “Lockdown happened and everything went quiet.

"The only official response I have had was that letter.

“I can’t fault the school. Daniel’s teachers are trying to contact the service.

"They asked for resources and all they were given was a link to some YouTube videos.

“If we had known sooner we would have looked at private care.

"An initial assessment would cost £75-£80, a course of therapy was several hundred pounds.

“One of my colleagues had access to resources to help him along when he was young and he’s fine now because of that early intervention.

"There is a lack of access to resources.

"To compound things we’re now at the end of the school year, there’s seven days left in school.

“When Daniel starts year 3, time dedicated to speech and development will reduce.”

Mark had suggestions for how the service could be improved and provide a higher level of care.

He said: “I want them to send the resources to the school and myself.

“And I want them to reevaluate their decision not to work with kids who have fallen into this great big crack, and get the care for them.”

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for comment.