Speech and Language Therapy


Speech and language therapy (SALT) aims to help people with communication or swallowing problems. At the Royal Free we see people who have developed these difficulties as adults.

People may have difficulty eating or drinking or with their voice, speech, language or their thinking skills for communication.

Patients are treated either as inpatients (those staying on wards in hospital) or as outpatients (those visiting hospital clinics for treatment). Find out more about:

  • Inpatient speech and language therapy
  • Outpatient speech and language therapy

What do speech and language therapists do?

Speech and language therapists at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital are specialists in assessing, diagnosing and managing patients.

Our therapists assess and treat patients with a range of conditions, including the following:

  • swallowing problems that have a neurological or physical nature
  • communication or swallowing problems associated with tracheostomy 
  • speech and language difficulties due to a neurological disorder (eg Parkinson's disease, dementia, stroke, motor neurone disease)
  • assessment and treatment for voice disorders, like stammer
  • swallowing or communication difficulties due to cancers of the head or neck, like throat cancer. 

Speech and language therapists are key members of a therapeutic team that work together to provide the best patient care. The team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians.  

Our speech and language therapists work closely within multi-disciplinary teams, particularly in the following areas:

  • Neurosciences (neurology, neurosurgery, stroke)
  • Critical care
  • Health services for the elderly
  • Oncology and palliative care

Also visit our neuro speech and language therapy page to see how our speech and language therapists treat neurological patients.

Inpatient speech and language therapy

Most of the Speech and Language Therapy Service work is within the acute wards on our Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital sites. We also offer inpatient rehabilitation as part of a full multidisciplinary team at our Chase Farm site.

Outpatient speech and language therapy

The Speech and Language Therapy service offer assessment and advice, including instrumental assessment of swallowing where indicated, to patients referred to our team from a Royal Free London Consultant. For patients with voice disorders and head and neck cancers our service offers ongoing treatment interventions.  

At our Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital sites we offer instrumental assessment of swallowing difficulties - Videoflouroscopy (modified Barium swallow examination in an XRay room with our radiography team) or Fibreoptic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). These services are accessed by requests from community SLT colleagues in agreement with the GP.


Referral details


Inpatients can be referred by health care professional at the trust via the speech and language therapy bleep during working hours.


Outpatients are seen if they are referred for assessment and advice only, by a Royal Free Consultant. Referrals for instrumental assessment need to be made using our SLT service instrumental referral form.

Patient leaflets

Read our patient leaflets and publications

View all patient resources