3 Jul 2008

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, called on Government to make sure recommendations to improve speech and language therapy services are implemented immediately.

Ms Lewsley welcomed the publication of the Speech and Language Therapy Task Force recommendations by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.

"My office first proposed setting up a task force in 2005, when children and their parents told us of the problems in speech and language therapy services.

"I hope that the recommendations announced today are put in place as soon as possible to help give the children a voice."

The Commissioner said that while resources were needed in some areas, other recommendations could be implemented immediately.

"I hope that the Minister and the Executive carefully consider resourcing recommendations in this report. But equally important there are actions which do not require funding, but can be started right away.

"Each day, each month that passes for a child needing this vital support is another missed chance for them to speak out, for them to express their needs, for them to have a say.

"Please make sure that this task force’s recommendations are the catalyst for changing children’s lives for the better."

Ms Lewsley said she and her team would be considering the detail of the report carefully before deciding her response.