A psychogeriatrician was recently given the opportunity of five sessions of speech therapy for his service. His response was that he had no need of a speech therapist as he was perfectly well able to do his own assessment of dysphasia. This attitude is perhaps understandable since there has been so little exposure to the skills of speech therapists within this clinical field. In 1985 a full-time speech therapist was appointed by Central Manchester Health Authority to be part of the multidisciplinary team working in old age psychiatry. At the time this was, to our knowledge, the first full-time position of its kind. This article reviews progress thus far and outlines the contribution of speech therapy skills to the management of the elderly mentally ill.
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