In 1950 J. Perelló introduced Phoniatrics in Spain, creating a Department of Phoniatrics at the Department of ORL School of Medicine of Barcelona. At this time many professionals come from medicine to engage the attention of the patients with communication diseases, thus consolidating in Spain under Phoniatrics skills as a medical specialty. These include J. Lopez Tappero, J. J. Gisbert Alós or M. Torres de Gaso among others.
In 1982 the Medical Society of Phoniatrics Spanish (SOMEF) is founded. The SOMEF counts with 116 members. Currently exercise approximately 110 phoniatricians who perform their work in public (30 centers) and private healthcare network.
- Hospitals with specific Phoniatric departments depending on ENT or Physical Medicine that works with all communication problems (language, speech, voice, hearing and dysphagia).
- Phoniatric Private clinics and centers concerted with Public Health Service.
Some are places of reference for certain pathologies:
- Cochlear Implants: Phoniatric Unity - ENT Service, University Hospital of Salamanca and Hospital Dr. Peset of Valencia
- Cleft Palate: Service of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Phoniatric Unity - Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Service, University Hospital La Paz of Madrid
Physicians in Spain are working in Public Health Services but are not legally recognized. There is no legal framework for regulation of exercise and training in the speciality. The Medical Phoniatrician Degree from the University of Salamanca or the Training of Hospital Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona has been the main resources for the training of speech therapists in Spain. At present, the authorities of the Ministry of Health are considering regulating the education and practice in Phoniatrics as a Specific Training Area or as an Independent Specialty.
A national Congress is organized once every year. The last congress was held in Valencia: 2011 XVII National Congress Valencia, 26-28 May (www.geyseco.es/somef).
Ana Martinez Arellano MD PhD, Pamplona, Spain