Neonatal Standards

Speech and Language Therapy Staffing Recommendations for Neonatal Units - RCSLT


About Speech and Language Therapy in Neonatal Care

Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) work with members of the neonatal team in the following areas: 

  • Identification of infants who are at risk of feeding and/or swallowing and communication difficulties.
  • Provision of developmentally appropriate clinical assessment of the infant and family within a developmental / family integrated care approach.
  • Provision of the management and the intervention for any identified pre-feeding, feeding, palliative and interaction / communication difficulties using strategies and relevant equipment where necessary that adhere to the best evidence available.
  • Provision of training and support to the multidisciplinary team to enable the most appropriate pre-feeding, feeding, palliative and communication methods that support infants and their families using a family centred and developmentally supportive care approach.

Professional Groups

The Neonatal Care Clinical Excellence Network (CEN) is for SLTs specialising in neonatal care. It is part of the The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapythe professional body for people working in or studying speech and language therapy in the UK.

Aims of the CEN:

  • To advise the RCSLT about clinical developments and evidence relevant to the speciality of neonatal SLT including developing competencies, outcome measures and staffing recommendations. 
  • Provision of a professional support network and discussion forum for SLTs working in neonatal care to facilitate and encourage the development of specialist knowledge and research.
  • Co-ordination and provision of evidence based educational opportunities including an annual clinical excellence network conference for SLTs in neonatal care, and participation with other AHPs to plan and participate in the annual Neonatal Therapy conference. 
  • To inform national policies and standards relevant to neonatal care in collaboration with other neonatal organisations, e.g. NICE guidelines, BAPM, etc.
  • To support joint collaborative audits, research and quality/service improvements in neonatal feeding and communication within a developmental care framework.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of current issues within the field of neonatal feeding and communication and provide position statements as required.
  • To work alongside other neonatal AHPs and develop links with other professional groups working in neonatology.

The group has several forums for discussion and practice-sharing, including an RCSLT basecamp forum, a Facebook group (SLTs in Neonatal Care UK), and Twitter account (@NeoSLTCEN).

Chair: Annie Aloysius, Clinical Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Secretary: Michelle Sweeting, Neonatal Speech & Language Therapist, Mid & South Essex Hospitals NHS Trust

Treasurer: Alex Connolly, Neonatal Speech & Language Therapist, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Education and Training / Neonatal Critical Care review implementation: Katy Parnell, Speech and Language Therapist, Birmingham Children's Hospital

Outcome measures: Jo Marks, Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

Event planning: Hannah Lewis, Advanced Speech and Language Therapist, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Communications: Maya Asir, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Evelina London Children’s Hospital

Contact CEN




British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) is registered in England & Wales under charity number 285357 at 5-11 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8SH.
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