Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Introducing the new neonatal Operational Delivery Network speech and language therapists

The lack of appropriate allied health professional (AHP) expertise within neonatal care has been formally recognised in recent years. This article reviews the background to the new neonatal Operational Delivery Network AHP and psychology strategic roles and how they are working to support neonatal workforce transformation plans. We explore how an expert neonatal speech and language therapist (SLT) workforce will complement the existing medical and nursing teams’ expertise and review some of the challenges of current models of SLT provision.

Jo Marks
North West Neonatal Operational Delivery Network AHP Speech and Language Therapist

Zoe Gordon
Thames Valley and Wessex Neonatal Operational Delivery Network Speech and Language Therapy Lead

Katy Parnell
West Midlands Neonatal Operational Delivery Network Speech and Language Therapy Lead

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speech and language therapy; workforce transformation; neonatal education; neonatal Operational Delivery Network
Key points
  1. SLTs deliver proactive, evidence-based neuroprotective care.
  2. Current access to specialist neonatal SLT is extremely variable.
  3. Where SLT provision does exist, some services are not clearly funded by or embedded in neonatal services resulting in inequitable service delivery.
  4. AHPs and psychology lead roles are now integrated into each neonatal ODN to support workforce and education transformation plans

Also published in Infant:

Foundations in Neonatal Care: a multidisciplinary approach to training a neonatal workforce
This article discusses an innovative curriculum development that provides an inclusive approach to training a multidisciplinary neonatal workforce (eg nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, registered nurse associates). A critical evaluation will discuss the process of modifying an accredited neonatal course to develop the new Foundations in Neonatal Care module to ensure that staff are adequately prepared to care for babies with complex needs and their families.