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Regional Communication Aid Service (RCAS)

Helping people to improve communication in daily life - using their own abilities and new technology to build a better ‘total communication’ system with communication aids.

This leaflet may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • Introduction

    This leaflet will provide you with information about the service. If you are not sure about anything in this leaflet please ask a member of staff.

  • What is the Regional Communication Aid Service?

    The Regional Communication Aid Service is based at Walkergate Park, Centre for Neurorehabilitation and Neuro-psychiatry, Newcastle upon Tyne. The service helps people with communication difficulties using the latest technology. We can provide assessments, advice, loan of equipment and training

  • Who is it for?

    The service is for people of all ages who have a severe speech impairment associated with a range of physical, cognitive, learning or sensory difficulties and a clear discrepancy between their level of understanding and ability to speak. They must also be able to understand the purpose of a communication aid, have an understanding beyond cause and effect and be capable of learning and remembering how to use the communication aid. They may also have experience of using low tech alternative and augmentative communication which is insufficient to enable them to realise their communicative potential.

  • What do we offer?

    • Visiting Assessment Service: this takes place in a suitable location (i.e. home, school, work, hospital etc)
    • Equipment loan service
    • Advice on specialist Communication Aid Equipment
    • Training in the use of specialist Communication Aid equipment

  • What happens when I attend my first appointment?

    Your first appointment will take place in a suitable location e.g. your home, school, work, hospital. You will be visited by the assessment team who will carry out a full assessment. This may also involve other people, such as your family, carers, relatives, teachers and health care professionals.

    The assessment will consider your communication requirements and take into account any limitations you may have. Recommendations for the most appropriate Communication Aid to meet your needs can then be decided.

  • What happens next?

    Following your assessment, we may loan you a Communication Aid for you to trial. In some cases we may make further visits to assess your progress, provide further training and support, or to re-assess you if your needs change. Equipment is loaned for a short period. If the loan is shown to sufficiently enhance your face to face communication, there is potential for it to be funded by NHS England. If appropriate, this is then followed up by your referrer and the Regional Communication Aid Service. A written report is normally provided at the end of the trial period.

  • How do I access the service?

    You can refer yourself or be referred by a professional in a statutory service role e.g. an NHS, local authority, or educational funded professional involved in your care. The Regional Communication Aid Service can be contacted by telephone, email, or in writing.

  • Travel information

    Contact Nexus Traveline: Tel: 0871 200 22 33


  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:

    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.

    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    - the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    - complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Useful contacts

    • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
    North of Tyne Tel: 0800 032 0202, 9am-4.30pm, Monday - Friday
    Provides information and advice about local NHS services and support organisations and helps sort out any problems with NHS services.

  • Contact details

    The Regional Communication Aid Service
    Walkergate Park
    Centre for Neuro-rehabilitation and Neuro-psychiatry
    Benfield Road
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE6 4QD
    Tel: 0191 287 5240

  • Other formats, references and review

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre

    2019 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

    Ref, PIC/459/1019 October 2019 V5 Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Review date 2022