This report presents a provisional analysis of findings from a major survey of clients of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), focused on survey respondents who reported having communication support needs. The report thereby contributes data and evidence which is relevant to the legal duty of Scottish Ministers to "provide or secure the provision of (a) communication equipment, and (b) support in using that equipment, to any person who has lost their voice or has difficulty speaking" (Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act, 2016); and to the Scottish Government's 'See Hear' Strategy (Scottish Government, 2014).
Communication Equipment and Support is often referred to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (Scottish Government, 2018a), on which the Scottish Government's (SG) Assisted Communication policy team leads, alongside the lead for the 'See Hear' Strategy for people with sensory impairment. Since the Scottish Parliament passed Part 4 of the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine, etc and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016, and subsequent commencement of the legal duty in March 2018, the policy team has been working to collect data and evidence about the population in Scotland who need communication equipment and support and to whom the duty applies. As part of this work they secured the inclusion of a question about communication support needs in the AHP survey, which is described below; and commissioned this report, having secured funding for a three month internship. The survey findings provide valuable evidence, both about the clients of AHPs who reported having communication support needs, and about which AHP professional groups those clients were seeing.
An accompanying Research Findings publication summarises the main findings of this report.