Speech and language therapists (SLTs) work with people who have speech, language, voice or swallowing issues.


At the Speech and Language Therapy Department, we mainly assess and treat adult inpatients. We also provide outpatient care within certain specialist services. Last year, we treated 2,255 people.

Our 11 speech and language therapists work with patients who have communication or swallowing problems because of:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions
  • Head/neck cancer
  • Dementia
  • Voice disorders
  • Spinal injuries
  • Heart/lung transplantation

The SLT team provides a range of procedures and clinics – some examples are listed below.


Videofluoroscopy

This is an X-ray that shows what happens when you eat and drink. We use this test to diagnose and treat swallowing problems. The SLT gives you some food and drink with barium powder mixed through it. The barium allows them to see what happens to the food and drink as it passes through your mouth and throat. We run three videofluoroscopy clinics each week in the X-ray (Radiology) Department. 


Fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES)

The SLT passes a narrow camera (endoscope) through your nose into the back of your throat. This allows them to see what happens when you eat and drink. The Mater Hospital SLT Department was the first in Ireland to offer an SLT-led FEES service. In 2015, it ran the first FEES course for SLTs, which was accredited by the Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists. 


Voice and swallow clinic

At the Mater Hospital’s voice and swallow clinic, you will be given specialist clinical assessment. We also use the latest technology for assessing your voice and swallowing difficulties. The SLT and the doctor may use nasendoscopy (small camera through the nose), stroboscopy (camera through the mouth) and other equipment to give you an in-depth diagnosis.  

Education and research

Education and research is a priority for the SLT Department. All of our of SLTs take part in continuous and further education; we run national conferences and our own training and education events. 

  • In recent years, two therapists received masters’ and doctorate degrees related to their clinical work. 
  • We have two practice tutors who are affiliated with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the National University of Ireland. Our therapists provide clinical placements to over 25 SLT students every year.
  • Many of our SLTs give lectures in their areas of speciality to students at TCD, NUI Galway and the University of Limerick.

The department is actively involved in research projects. For further information on current projects and previous publications see HCP section.

  • The Effects of Introducing a ‘Water Protocol’ in Dysphagia Management for an Acute Geriatric Population
  • Swallow Screening in the Emergency Department: A Proposal for Introducing the Massachusetts General Hospital-Swallow Screening Tool (MGH-SST) in the Emergency Department (ED) of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH)
  • Audit of Carer Satisfaction Survey Feedback for Early Supported Discharge for Stroke in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
  • The Effectiveness of a Voice Treatment Approach for Teachers With Self-Reported Voice Problems, published in Journal of Voice (2006;20(3); 423-431)
  • Voice Tremor: What We Know and What We Don’t Know, published in Current Opinion in Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery (2011;19(3);155-159)
  • Characteristics of Vocal Tract Tremor in Parkinson's Disease, accepted for publication in Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery
  • Bilateral Cerebellar Stroke Presenting with Acute Dysphonia and Late Palatal Tremor, published in Movement Disorders (Vol 27, No. 3 2012)

Related services


Useful information

Referral Information

Our service is dedicated primarily to inpatients of the Mater Hospital. However, we also provide a limited service to outpatients within specific specialties. All patients must be under the care of a Mater Hospital consultant and be referred by a member of that medical team. 

If you are concerned about your or your family member’s communication or swallowing, please contact your GP or your local health service to be referred to the appropriate SLT service. 

How to get a referral

If you are an outpatient, you will receive an appointment directly from the Speech and Language Therapy Department. You then need to call us to confirm that you will be attending. 

If for any reason you can’t attend, please contact the SLT Department as soon as possible so that we can offer the appointment to another patient on our waiting list.