About our service for adults

Our therapists, practitioners and assistants work in the Derby hospitals, in community hospitals across the county and in some mental health settings. We also work with people in their homes, in care homes and in other community locations.

We work with adults who have:

  • communication difficulties arising from neurological conditions (such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, dementia etc.)
  • eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties arising from neurological conditions
  • stammering

Video consultation

Many patients have found video consultations more convenient during Covid. Where video consultation works well, and patients are happy with it, we will continue to use this where we can. This will depend on the clinical needs we are working on.

Patient initiated follow up

The NHS is trying to be more responsive to patients.  To help us meet patients’ needs at the right time, we are offering more patient initiated follow up. This means patients/carers can contact us when they need the next step, rather than us trying to predict when this might be. This will help us to give help when it is most needed. We will of course still offer planned follow up where this is clinically necessary.

We are qualified to assess and support certain needs. Please see our acceptance criteria for full details.

Is a referral needed?

We can help patients who have:

  • Swallowing or communication problems associated with a neurological diagnosis such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, MND, stroke or dementia. 

AND any of the following:

  • Frequent coughing or choking specifically when eating or drinking.
  • Recurrent chest infections/pneumonia where aspiration is the suspected cause.
  • Significant communication problems affecting daily life.
  • Communication or swallowing problems where advice has been followed but needs have changed, i.e. a significant improvement or deterioration.

We can also help adults who stammer.

We cannot help patients with:
  • Vomiting unrelated to dysphagia. Please refer to GP.
  • Problems with taking tablets only. Please consult pharmacist.
  • Problems with small appetite or refusing to eat and drink. Please consult dietitian.
  • Problems with tube feeding or patients who need feeding tube insertion. Please refer to GP or gastrostomy nurse.
  • Head and neck cancer or oesophageal cancer. Please consult GP and specialist SLT service.
  • Swallowing or communication problems associated with developmental diagnoses (learning disabilities, Autism etc).


To discuss possible referrals:

Please contact your local speech and language if you know who this is (see 'Contact Us' section to the right) or phone 0115 9512433.  

Or email: DCHST.SLTCentralReg@nhs.net

Our admin support workers will put you in touch with a therapist.

Care Homes:

  • Download and fully complete the Adult care home referral form including the Meal Time Observation Checklist at the start.  We cannot accept the form without the completed checklist.
  • Email it to the speech and language therapy Central Registration Office (email details on the form).

Other referrers (including community hospitals):

To refer an adult whose needs relate to learning disabilities:

For eating, drinking, swallowing or communication needs relating primarily to learning disabilities, please contact your local Learning Disability service.

North Derbyshire: phone 01246 565000 ext. 112 or visit DCHS Learning Disability Service

South Derbyshire: visit: DHCFT Disabilities Learning Service

What happens after referral:

We will look at the referral to decide whether the person needs an assessment and if so, how urgently.

We are not an urgent response or emergency service. We cannot guarantee a same-day visit. However we do triage all referrals and requests for contact as soon as possible. If triage indicates an immediate risk of harm relating to eating and drinking, we aim to contact and arrange a visit within 2 working days. If there are urgent concerns about the patient's health in the meantime, please contact the patient's GP or 111.

After triage/assessment, we may provide advice or help carers support someone experiencing communication or eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

If therapy is needed, we will agree a personalised therapy and discharge plan, according to the person’s changing needs.