STRUCTURE: Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust has received some “challenging feedback” about cuts to children’s speech and language therapy staff under a planned service redesign.

Board papers for June said: “As one might expect, the feedback has been varied.” Moves to make services more accessible and fair, and  to deliver more services in schools was welcomed. However: “There was challenging feedback in relation to the planned pace and scale of changes (reductions) to the staff allocation to extended resource provisions and to special schools, particularly with regard to the potential impact on statemented children.

“Also, comments were made in relation to the potential need for a higher proportion of capacity to be directed to early intervention and pre-school work and the proposal to do most screening in a clinic setting rather than in schools.”

The trust said it would consider how to respond, and pilot some aspects of the changed service.

The decision to redesign the service was driven mainly by cuts to council and education funding, and the introduction two years ago of the 18 weeks referral to treatment target for allied health professional services.

The previous system also had inconsistent eligibility criteria and resource allocations.

The redesign took place in a “commissioning vacuum”, board papers said, as a joint commissioning vacancy meant that there were no details of commissioning intentions.