Communication Matters strongly encourages anyone concerned with AAC to develop good relationships in their region, to support our campaign to improve services for anyone who finds communication difficult because they have little or no clear speech. To support this process, Communication Matters have worked with the Whitehouse Consultancy to produce the attached toolkit to help you engage with your local community and your Member of Parliament (MP).
Over a number of years, Communication Matters have been successful in lobbying for specialised AAC to be well funded via NHS England. During Prime Minister's Questions on 13th March 2013, in response to a question from Paul Maynard MP, David Cameron committed the Government to making sure the NHS will make AAC available to more people in future.
Following this, Paul Maynard MP led a debate in the House of Commons on Augmentative and Alternative Communication Services where he spoke passionately about AAC and the need for greater support from the Government. A day before the debate, Paul Maynard MP and Communication Matters met with Care Minister Norman Lamb MP to discuss a number of key issues relating to the future commissioning of AAC. Following the debate and the meeting, huge progress was made, leading to NHS England confirming that the identified level of historical spend is "inaccurate and inadequate" (£3.5 million) and that a bid has been submitted for £15 million for the 2014-15 financial year to NHS England. Previously NHS England had not accepted the level of identified need which had meant that AAC services were due to face a significant shortfall in funding over future years.
However, we still need your support to ensure that local commissioners in your area establish a comprehensive coverage of local AAC services across their region. We would, therefore, like you to contact your local Health and Wellbeing Board, Healthwatch representative and build (or in some cases maintain) a constructive relationship with your local MP.
This updated Toolkit gives all the information you need to make difference in your local area. If you have any problems then Oliver Cardinali at The Whitehouse Consultancy will be happy to answer any questions: you can call him on 020 7463 0688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org