Waiting list management strategies for speech pathologists: Summary of evidence

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Long waiting lists for speech pathology exist due to a mismatch between supply and demand. Waiting lists prevent individuals from accessing early intervention, negatively impact their wellbeing, and are challenging for speech pathologists to manage.
To provide a summary of waiting list management strategies and available evidence, based on a program of research and scoping review of international literature.
A program of research was conducted involving: (1) submissions from consumers, professionals, and organisations to an Australian Government Senate Inquiry (n = 133); (2) speech pathologists’ questionnaire responses regarding waiting lists and prioritisation (n = 264); (3) design of an active waiting website informed by members of the public (n = 119), focus groups (n = 16), and evaluation of existing online sites about children’s speech and language (n = 25); and (4) a randomised controlled trial
evaluating active versus passive waiting by children and families (n = 97). A scoping review of literature regarding waiting list management strategies was undertaken.
Result(s): Speech pathologists attempt to manage waiting lists and their consequences using actions relating to service delivery (e.g., group therapy, screening), organisational processes and policies (e.g., eligibility criteria, session limits, prioritisation), and the workforce (e.g., recruitment). Speech pathologists aspired for innovative waiting list management solutions, including use of technology to
support active waiting. Some speech pathologists experienced conflict between waiting list management strategies and evidence-based practice.
A summary of speech pathology waiting list management strategies will be presented to inform speech pathologists’ decision-making and clinical practice.


ConferenceSpeech Pathology Australia National Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleLocal contexts, global practice
OtherEach year Speech Pathology Australia conducts a National Conference for the benefit of its members and the speech pathology profession. The event provides delegates with a prime opportunity to update their knowledge and skills, while building networks to enable them to remain leaders in a competitive field. On this page are the programs for previous conferences.
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