Speech and Language Therapy
The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) department at University Hospital Lewisham sees adults who have a range of disorders of communication and/or swallowing.
0208 333 3004
What conditions does the department treat?
We provide a range of specialist Speech and Language Therapy services for adults at Lewisham Hospital, including:
- Neurological conditions and dementia
- Critical and acute care
- Voice disorders
- Swallowing disorders/dysphagia
The department also runs a weekly Videofluoroscopy Clinic in conjunction with the Radiology department at UHL. Videofluoroscopy imaging allows more detailed assessment of the swallowing mechanism in order to identify impairments and optimise the function of the swallow.
In addition, the department jointly runs the Voice Clinic - a multi-disciplinary clinic for the management of voice disorders.
Who are the services for?
The services are for inpatients and outpatients aged 16 years or older (with the exception of children with voice disorders).
How can you get an appointment?
Patients can be referred by their GP, or by a member of staff at the hospital, eg an (Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) consultant.
Outpatient Dysphagia Services
We provide diagnostic assessment for adults with swallowing disorders who have been referred by gastroenterology and respiratory consultants or ENT surgeons from within University Hospital Lewisham.
We offer an initial clinic appointment which may be followed up by either an objective assessment by videofluoroscopy (video xray of swallowing) or FEES (nasendoscopy to assess swallowing) if necessary.
We do not provide ongoing management of swallowing difficulties in this service – our primary purpose is to assess/diagnose and make recommendations for management. If you require ongoing speech therapy input following your initial appointments you will be referred to your local community speech therapy service to continue this.
We run videofluoroscopy clinics weekly on a Wednesday afternoon and FEES clinics every 6-8 weeks on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.
We accept referrals for videofluoroscopy and FEES from local community Speech & Language Therapists wishing to access these assessments for their patients.
If you are a community therapist and wish to make a referral for either of these assessments please contact the Speech and language therapy department using the details at the top of this page.
Outpatient Voice Therapy Services:
We provide voice assessment and therapy services for adults with voice disorders, this includes functional voice disorders, voice rehabilitation after surgery, professional voice users with voice problems.
The voice services can offer treatment nasoendoscopy for patients who would benefit from the procedure.
We also provide voice therapy for children with voice disorders from the age of five years.
Educational Voice Groups are offered to new patients before enlisting into 1-1 therapy.
Information sheets about voice and its disorders are available in the department.
We jointly run Multidisciplinary Voice Clinics in conjunction with ENT. The ENT admin team are responsible for booking voice clinic appointments.
University Hospital Lewisham has 2 dedicated stroke wards: Beech ward and Maple ward. These form one large stroke unit with an integrated multidisciplinary stroke team.
The stroke unit has a designated Speech & Language Therapy team, which works with patients to identify and manage any communication or swallowing difficulties patients may have after a stroke.
Our service aims to enable patients with communication difficulties to communicate to the best of their ability through assessment, treatment and providing advice and support, either one to one or in a group environment. As well as working directly with patients, we can advise others (e.g. family members, carers) on how they can adapt their communication to make information and conversation more accessible to patients.
We also provide specialist assessment of swallowing. We may recommend modified diets or strategies to help patients to eat and drink as safely and as effectively as possible.
We work closely with other members of the multidisciplinary stroke team, including Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Neuropsychologist, Nursing and Medical teams, to provide holistic and patient-centred care.
Our staff care for adult inpatients across the acute wards as well as A&E who present with swallowing, communication, voice difficulties or a combination of these. We provide specialist assessment, diagnosis, management and treatment for patients on critical care including tracheostomy management, adult acute medicine & surgery wards and care of the elderly wards. We also provide advice, training and education to colleagues, carers and families.
We work closely with other members of the acute multi-disciplinary team as well as patients & their families to provide collaborative patient-centred care. Referrals are made electronically by staff via icare and we aim to see patients within 48 hours or less for urgent referrals.
We also offer videofluroscopy and fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing service for inpatients.
Justine Vella, Head of Speech and Language Therapy
Beth Shakespeare, Lead Therapist Acute Services
Siggy Robson, Lead Therapist Stroke Services
Rehab Awad, Lead Therapist Voice Services