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AACess for All: An overview of AAC services across the UK

Session 
Tuesday Plenary
Practice Report
  • Sally Chan and Judith de Ste Croix (Regional Leads for the South)
  • Gary Derwent (Regional Lead for London)
  • Clive Thursfield (Regional Lead for the Midlands)
  • Anna Reeves (Regional Lead for the North)
  • Pamela Cornwallis (Scotland - North)
  • Linda Page (Scotland - South)
Summary

This session will provide an overview of recent developments and future prospects for AAC provision across the UK. There will be brief presentations from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a more detailed report from the four DfE (Dept for Education) consortia in England (a summary of this report 'The Future of AAC services in England' is below).

Summary of report 'The Future of AAC services in England:  A framework for equitable and effective commissioning

We will present the findings from the DfE-funded AAC Grant 2012-3, covering all eight Objectives; signpost the audience to where they can get more detailed information about the Project; present an update on commissioning within England, with reference to the relevant advisory and commissioning bodies; and inform how the audience can influence the commissioning of AAC services and the provision of AAC equipment.

Method/Activities/Techniques

The presenters and their consortium partners successfully bid as a whole for the DfE Grants available in 2012, demonstrating a unified approach to influencing the commissioning framework for AAC Services. Each Region then took responsibility for at least one of the eight Objectives. The result was a Report on the findings, endorsed by the Communication Champion, Jean Gross.

Results/Findings

The eight Objectives were: Stakeholder engagement; mapping of AAC Services; Best Practice Guidelines for AAC Services; AAC Care Pathway; specification for an AAC database; procurement; remote delivery of AAC Services; national AAC training and eLearning.

Conclusions

The Project was set up to develop resources to inform commissioners on establishing and developing AAC Services and equipment budgets. This is within the context of the new NHS commissioning framework, and the recommended hub and spoke model of service delivery. The problems of NHS change on such a scale has created an anxious period of transition, but the presentation will focus on the way forward, and the postive work which is being achieved in the AAC sector.