Scotland does not have the same distinction between “specialised” and “local” services as exist on other parts of the UK. Instead, AAC services are provided by local teams, supported by the national AAC services and in some areas by the regional services.

The national services are provided in part by Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Local teams (within each Health Board area) and regional services are provided by NHS, Local Authority and in some cases 3rd sector organisations.

Within each Health Board there is also a designated AAC Lead to take forward clinical services. Independent services are privately owned, and you may have to pay for them.


The National Centre for Electronic Assistive Technology (NCEAT) Wales is commissioned and funded directly by NHS Wales.

The EAT Service undertakes assessment, provision and ongoing review of the patients’ needs, for which equipment and training for those with the most complex communication and environmental needs is provided and maintained.

Additionally, the EAT Service provides Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for appropriate patients.

People who need low tech AAC receive provision by the Local AAC Services, which are resourced by the local NHS Health Boards.

Registered Health Care Professionals can refer into NCEAT for a high-tech assessment.

National Centre for Electronic Assistive Technology (NCEAT)


The specialised service in N. Ireland is funded by the NHS and delivered for the region by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT).

The specialised service and the local Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) SLT services work together closely to determine who is referred to the specialised service.

Local HSCT services are funded by the NHS.

Independent services are privately owned, and you may have to pay for them.

The Communication Advice Centre, N. Ireland

How Assessment Services are Organised in the UK

Services, support and funding arrangements vary across the UK


Most local health services in England will be provided by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs); however, there are a few specialised services, including ‘specialist augmentative and alternative communication aids’ services that will be commissioned directly by NHS England – the new organisation appointed by the Government to oversee the commissioning of all health services.



‘A Right to Speak’
This set of guidelines from the Scottish Government contains a number of recommendations to be implemented in 2012 and 2015. The aim is to improve provision and care for individuals who use AAC in Scotland. It is relevant for the NHS, social care services, voluntary organisations, schools and the general public across Scotland.

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