Every £1 invested in speech and language therapy for stroke patients with swallowing problems – dysphagia – generates £2.3 in savings through avoided chest infections, a report shows.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy report, published today, says the potential benefits of such therapy are currently underestimated.

The analysis, carried out for the college by operational research company Matrix Evidence, suggests an overall annual saving to the NHS from such therapy of £13.3m in costs for further treatment and support.

College chief executive Kamini Gadhok said:  “The NHS needs to achieve £20bn of savings by 2014 and Matrix’s study proves that speech and language therapy can help meet that challenge.” 

The report is intended to support the college’s new “Giving Voice” campaign, which has the backing of health minister Anne Milton, shadow home secretary Ed balls and Commons speaker John Bercow.   


Annual cost and annual benefitsof SLT for dysphagia post-stroke patients disaggregated by country (£m in 2009 prices)

CountryDysphagia patientsTotal costTotal benefitTotal net benefit
Scotland           5,300£0.9m£2.0m£1.1 m
Northern Ireland1,800£0.3m£0.7m£0.4m