With the new academic year underway, it isn’t just teachers and pupils who are having to get used to new ways of going to school.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Children’s Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team is changing how it provides services to schools across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Children’s SLT team works closely with education staff and parents to support them in meeting the needs of children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
But, with the requirement to wear PPE including face masks making working on speech and communication with children extremely difficult, and in the interests of safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19, the team is no longer able to visit schools in the same way.
Instead of attending schools in person, members of the children’s SLT team are now using the NHS Wales Video Consultation Service to join the children, teachers and parents remotely.
The video consultation service will enable the children’s SLT team to continue the work they have already been doing with families via video during the summer, without the child having to miss any school time.
Jayne Hitchings, Lead Speech and Language Therapist, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a real impact on how we are able to deliver services to our patients, but we have found the video consultation service to be a really effective and safe way for us to provide Speech and Language Therapy to families at home.
“I’m delighted that through using video consultations we are able to resume our school-based service, so that we are able to continue supporting the speech, language and communication needs of children across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.”
Introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the video consultation service will play a key role in facilitating social distancing measures at hospital sites as services continue to be reintroduced.
The service is also expected to significantly benefit the local environment, with an estimated 40,000 miles of travel having already been prevented for the Cardiff and Vale UHB’s patients, through more than 4,000 video consultations.
Len Richards, Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have made a number of changes to how we provide services to patients, and it’s important as we look forward that we recognise and maintain the benefits that some of these new ways of working have unlocked.
“That is certainly the case with our new video consultation service, which in addition to saving increasing numbers of our patients the time, cost and effort of visiting hospital is contributing to reducing the number of vehicles on our roads.
“We are working to continue introducing the video consultation service across our care pathways so that, where appropriate, as many patients as possible have the option of accessing healthcare in this way.”