What we do for you

The speech and language therapy service provides assessment and treatment for adults who have swallowing or feeding and/or communication difficulties.

During your stay in hospital, your speech and language therapist (also known as an SLT) will work with you and your family. 

Assessment results and treatment plans will be discussed with you and your family. We will always explain any plans for assessment and intervention and make sure you understand them and have consented to them before we take any action. 

Your therapist will also work closely with medical staff, nurses and other therapists to assist them in understanding your difficulties. Your therapist will see you as often as required, depending on your needs.


The types of difficulties that can occur with communication vary enormously and affect everyone differently.

The types of speech and/or language difficulties are described below:

  • Speech – the clarity of your speech may change, it may sound slurred or unclear and your voice may be weak. This is called dysarthria.
  • Language – difficulties in language can vary from the way you are able to express yourself to your ability to understand what people say, or understand the written word, for example reading a newspaper. When you are speaking and/or writing, you may mix up the words or not be able to find the words you want. This is called aphasia.


Swallowing difficulties (known as dysphagia) can have a number of causes. 

You may have difficulty with chewing or you may find that you cough when swallowing food or drink. This difficulty can also affect how you swallow pills, medicines and even saliva. 

A weak swallow can lead to food and drink "going down the wrong way", into the lungs. This is known as ‘aspiration’ and can result in a chest infection. 

However, every swallowing problem is different. Your therapist will assess you and give you advice about what is safe to swallow for your individual condition. Sometimes an X-ray of you swallowing may be required to further investigate the cause of the difficulty. Your therapist may also recommend strategies to improve the safety of your swallow and make a treatment plan to improve swallowing, if appropriate.

On leaving hospital

If necessary, your speech and language therapist can refer you for further speech and language therapy at your local hospital, or it may be possible for you to be seen at home. 

A report summarising your difficulties and our own input may be written for your doctors and you can have a copy of this if you would like one.

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. There is no cure for asthma but in most sufferers, available treatments keep their symptoms under control. 

Speech and language therapy contact details

Royal Brompton

For adults: 020 7352 8121 ext. 4452 
Bleep: 7756

For paediatrics: 020 7352 8121 ext. 8369
Bleep: 7713 / 7104

Voice service: 020 7352 8121 ext. 4136 
Bleep: 7717

Harefield Hospital

For adults: 01895 823737 ext. 5501 
Bleep: 7031
Please leave a message on the answer phone and we will call you back as soon as possible.

Speech and language therapy for children

We offer speech and language therapy to support babies and children with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. Read about our speech and language therapy services for children.