Speech & Language Therapy

Greater Lancashire Hospital is pleased to partner with SCV Solutions an innovative speech and language therapy combining pioneering technology with traditional methods to devise individualised assessment and therapy management for people with swallowing, voice and communication impairments.

Areas of Focus

  • Swallowing

Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing difficulties. This can result in obvious difficulties such as coughing, choking or discomfort when eating and/or drinking – overt aspiration.

Alternatively, however, swallowing problems can also be very subtle, resulting in recurrent chest infections due to food/drink ‘going down the wrong way’ to the lungs – silent aspiration.

What causes dysphagia?

Neurological causes

• Damage to the brain from stroke, tumours, traumatic brain injury
• Progressive neurological conditions i.e. dementia, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis etc.

Congenital and developmental conditions

• Cerebral palsy
• Learning difficulties

Structural changes of throat/oesophagus

• Cancer
• Pouches
• Reflux
• Infections

Respiratory conditions


  • Communication

Communication difficulties

• Aphasia – language disorder. This is an inability or impaired ability to understand (receptive aphasia) or produce (expressive aphasia) speech as a result of brain damage.  It can also affect reading and writing ability.
• Dysarthria – slurring of speech resulting in reduced intelligibility. It is caused by muscle weakness as a result of brain or nerve damage.
• Dyspraxia – reduced ability to co-ordinate and plan fine and/or gross movements. This can effect ability to produce speech sounds.
• Cognitive communication issues – changes to cognition and/or personality that have a secondary impact on communication i.e. emotional content, perception, attention, memory, planning, ability to ‘filter’ information or to ‘read between the lines’.
• Reduced awareness states – damage to the brain causes diminished levels of awareness, including minimally conscious or vegetative states. People may also experience a post-traumatic amnesia (reduced memory, reduced orientation etc.)

  • Voice

Dysphonia is the medical term for voice disorders.

• Change in voice quality i.e. hoarse, breathy or strained
• Voicing is effortful and causes discomfort
• Total loss of voice – aphonia
• Voice quality does not match gender.


Our Expertise


Louise Sloan and Leanne Nicholson are both highly specialist Speech and Language Therapists with a number of years’ experience working in nationally-renowned hospitals in London and Manchester.

They both have substantial experience of working with exceptionally complex patients in the acute, outpatient and community settings.  Between them, they have considerable expertise in adult acquired disorders of swallowing, communication and voice.  They are passionate and caring individuals who strive to provide the most up to date and optimal standards of care, in an empathetic manner, to everyone they work with.  Now they are able to offer a first-class private service here at Greater Lancashire Hospital and all over the North West with bases in Manchester and Preston. They pride themselves in offering bespoke, individualised assessments and therapy plans ensuring meaningful, relevant outcomes.  They use traditional speech therapy approaches alongside new, innovative ones to achieve the best care possible.  They are passionate about being at the cutting edge of their profession.



Leanne’s interests lie in communication and swallowing problems as a result of neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury and progressive neurological conditions.  She has spent a number of years working in some highly-respected rehabilitation facilities treating people with a range of severities – from low awareness states to those aiming to return to work.

Louise’s specialist interests are post critical care rehabilitation, invasive and non-invasive ventilation, head & neck cancer and voice.  She therefore has significant experience of treating swallowing and voice disorders as a result of neurological, respiratory, surgical, post radiotherapy and functional aetiologies.

Leanne and Louise currently work as senior clinicians in a teaching hospital and centre of excellence in Manchester specialising in cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, heart & lung transplantation, respiratory conditions, burns & plastics and cancer services.  They are an integral part of one of the most forward-thinking NHS speech therapy services in the country.  In addition, they work together in independent practice to deliver this high-quality care to those throughout the region. They are both fully competent and highly skilled in working with people with tracheostomies or requiring ventilation.



What We Do

  • Swallow assessments / therapy

Assess swallow ability with the aim of improving and optimising function, ensuring appropriate oral intake, guiding recommendations for therapy/exercises, identification of techniques to aid swallowing.

  • Nasendoscopy / FEES

Insertion of a thin tube with a small camera to the back of the nose to allow a view of the pharynx and larynx (throat). This allows detailed assessment of swallowing and/or voice. This is a short, painless procedure lasting a few minutes with immediate results.  No preparation or recovery is required.

  • Phagenyx

This relatively new treatment involves delivering a pain-free electrical stimuli to the throat area with the aim of regenerating nerve pathways involved for swallowing that have become damaged. Treatment is offered, if appropriate, following assessment and FEES (see above) and involves insertion of a tube via the nose and throat.  Electrical stimulation is calculated on an individual basis and is delivered for ten minutes a day for three consecutive days.  For more information, see phagenesis.com


  • Communication assessments / therapy

The type of assessment used will vary depending on the requirements for each person. Results will be discussed and used to guide therapy. Intervention will always be relevant, purposeful and agreed between therapist and patient and/or patients’ advocate if appropriate, with clear goals reviewed at agreed timeframes.

  • Voice assessments / therapy
  • Expert reports

Formal report written for medico-legal purposes among others.