Professional help

Role of NHS Occupational Health (OH) departments in the workplace

Local NHS OH departments aim to promote good physical and mental wellbeing among NHS staff, and are available to provide confidential advice and support to NHS staff and their managers on issues relating to health and work. Offering work adjustments to staff and candidates for new roles, who have health conditions that may affect or be affected by their work, is an obvious measure to maximise their productivity, and is considered good management practice.

Not everyone who stammers will want or need work adjustments to support them in the workplace. In fact, many people will have developed their own tried and tested personal strategies on how to effectively manage their stammer without requiring any further workplace support or even discussion about their stammer. However, if you are experiencing workplace issues due to your stammer then your local OH department can provide a confidential OH assessment and advice and can recommend practical and helpful work adjustments to support you at work. Any consideration of work adjustments will also need to be discussed with your line manager so decisions on how to address workplace difficulties can be explored and decisions made on possible work adjustments. If the work adjustments to support staff who stammer require financial investment beyond the employers’ means, support can be sought from Access to Work. It is important to emphasise that the adjustments are unlikely to be expensive and the cost is very likely to be offset by increased productivity.

 

Work adjustments will need to be based on individual functional assessment and tailored to the individual staff member, taking into account the diversity of job roles in the NHS (i.e. clinical vs non-clinical roles). This may include other modes of communication (e.g. shifting from verbal to written), technology (texting service rather mobile), work practice (e.g. working remotely, avoiding large group presentation) and additional support (e.g. coaching, mentoring). Please note these are examples and not an exhaustive list.

Employee assistance programme (EAP), counsellors and psychologists

Qualified counsellors and psychologists are able to provide professional support and therapy for stress and anxiety or other personal issues. You can find contact details for your local EAP service from your local occupational health department.

The British Stammering Association

Provides further information and guidance on work adjustments, click here for more information.

Adult speech therapy and support

Stammering therapy from adult speech and language therapists can be helpful for people who stammer. Depending on the therapist and the client, the focus of therapy may be different, for instance some choose to focus on techniques to become more fluent or manage their stammer better, whilst others on becoming more accepting and open towards stammering. The NHS often provides speech and language therapy for adults who stammer. You can access this by speaking to your GP or directly approaching your local NHS speech and language team. Stammering is one of the few conditions for which you can self-refer. Sadly, however, adult stammering therapy is not available in all areas of the UK on the NHS.

Alternative resources include:

City Lit Speech Therapy Department is the foremost specialist centre for adult stammering therapy in the UK. They offer a range of face-to-face and online intensive daytime classes as well as a varied evening class and 1-day workshop programme.  For more information, see https://www.citylit.ac.uk/courses/specialist-learning/speech-therapy. Funding to access this support could be provided by your local NHS provider or employer. You could discuss this directly with your line manager or your OH department.

 

The Michael Palin Centre for stammering provides face-to-face and virtual support to young people and adults across the UK. They provide individually tailored therapy delivery by qualified speech and language therapist. More details can be found at https://michaelpalincentreforstammering.org/

 

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust delivers online stammering therapy anywhere in the UK to those who have access to a smart phone, tablet or computer with webcam and internet access. It is available for those unable to access NHS stammering therapy locally. Funding to access this support could be provided by your local NHS provider or employer. You could discuss this directly with your line manager or your OH department.  More details about the service can be found by clicking on this link

 

Independent stammering therapists can be sourced via the ‘Find a Therapist’ register via the Association of Speech and Language therapists in Independent Practice: https://asltip.com The search function enables you to find therapists in your area with a special interest in stammering.

 

Local stammering support groups provide a safe and friendly environment in which to meet other people who stammer in your area. More information on local groups (including contact details can be found here.

Please note:

We are unable to comment on the quality and effectiveness of any therapy referred to on this page.  The details provided are for information purposes only.

The Network expresses its thanks and appreciation to NHS England & NHS Improvement (The Workforce Disability Equality Standard- WDAS) for providing funding to set up the network.

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