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Waiting lists are a reality of clinical practice, and many health and social care professionals become used to having to cope with this. The authors of this paper addressed this issue by examining written submissions to the 2014 Senate Inquiry into the prevalence of difference types of speech, language and communication disorders, and speech pathology services in Australia (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014). Of these, 113 focused on waiting for services and were written by clients, parents, speech and language therapists and organisations about children (n=81, and adults n=16 or both, n=36). Thematic analysis identified six themes and 14 subthemes. The six main themes identified were duration of waiting lists (such as magnitude), consequences to consumers (such as impact on outcomes), professional consequences (such as psychological), societal consequences (such as social burden), consumer actions (such as seeking alternatives) and professional actions (such as policy development). Issues such as waiting times have remained a significant concern, especially during the current COVID-19 crisis where many services perceived to be non-urgent have been paused for indeterminable periods. Often the real consequences are long-term, and vulnerable individuals, such as children and adults with communication difficulties, may suffer the negative consequences for extended periods. This is not an issue particular to Australia or the UK, but now worldwide, and the authors flag that we will benefit from sharing practice and ideas to advocate and lobby for organisations and governments to address these inequities in service provision. 

“Many wasted months”: Stakeholders’perspectives about waiting for speech-language pathology services.
McGill N, Crowe K, Mcleod S.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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