The assessment and management of eating, drinking and swallowing (EDS) difficulties, known as dysphagia, is covered within the theoretical component of the UK Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) pre-registration curriculum. Some students also gain practical experience in the management of these difficulties through their clinical placements. However to date there is a variation in the level of competency of SLT graduates.

National work

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Dysphagia Training & Competency Framework is a UK-wide document for all RCSLT members who work with people with dysphagia. It is relevant to all presentations of dysphagia and covers all the common conditions of which dysphagia is a symptom.

The framework includes curriculum guidelines to standardise the knowledge gained by students on pre-registration courses, and a competency framework to allow members to demonstrate their level of competence and identify areas for development at any point in their career.

Vist the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists to access the  Framework and supporting resources.

Local work

Following discussions with ProfNet, the North West Speech and Language Therapy clinical leads’ network, and other stakeholders, Health Education North West commissioned a project through Manchester Metropolitan University to support the development of dysphagia competence in newly qualified speech and language therapy graduates.
The specific aims of the project were to:

  • Scope current practice of developing competencies and supervisory frameworks for the management of eating, drinking and swallowing (EDS) difficulties for newly qualified speech and language therapists;
  • Identify the characteristics of current successful models of supervision;
  • Develop a new consensus model for developing competencies for the management of EDS difficulties for all levels of SLT practitioners;
  • Recommend systems for NQ SLTs to access the appropriate level of supervision to enable timely achievement of, and a consistent approach to, post-qualification EDS competencies in the North West.

Download the final project report.