Recent research in one local area shows that numbers of young people aged 15-19 with severe or complex needs increased by 70% between 1998 and 2008.

Specialised AAC services in England

From April 2014, NHS England will be responsible for funding specialised AAC services in England. These services will provide assessment, training and equipment for children and adults with complex communication needs.

You can download the current draft service specifications, which the specialised services will be working towards during 2014-5.

Area Team service specialists for complex disability equipment services are currently in discussions with regional specialised AAC services in preparation for the commencement of the new AAC commissioning arrangements from 1st April 2014. The draft service specification D01S/b outlines the expectations of these services, and services are required to be compliant by 1st October 2014.  The services include:

  • Assessments of children and adults who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in this service specification and are referred to the service in order to identify communication aid equipment and strategies to support their communication
  • Provision and maintenance support of equipment for children and adults meeting the eligibility criteria on a long term loan basis
  • Training to support the establishment and development of local AAC services

Additional funding is anticipated from NHS England, which aims to add to rather than replace existing AAC funding and is expected to meet assessment and equipment support for 10% of the population of children and adults with the most complex needs who require AAC.  Support for the remaining 90% of the AAC population will still be required to be met through local commissioning arrangements.

These service specifications will be ratified by NHS England in October 2014.  The service specifications define the remit of the specialised services, as well as the criteria for referral to these services. They also describe the close collaboration between the specialised and local services.