Today marks the first ‘Allied Health Professions (AHPs)’ day in England. An idea posted just a couple of months ago on twitter by AHP leads in Cornwall caught the interest of NHS England and a social movement commenced.
A logo, pin badges and a whole raft of publicity later, the day has arrived with the aim of celebrating the valuable contribution of Allied Health Professionals and raising the profile of the 14 different allied health professions, many of which people may not have even heard of.
Most people have probably heard of, or seen, a physiotherapist, will know what paramedics do and might have some idea about radiography but are much less likely to know about podiatry or orthotics. NHS England have a handy guide describing all 14 professions at www.england.nhs.uk/ahp/role.
Allied Health Professions are the third largest workforce in the NHS and the service couldn’t operate without them.
At ²gether, we have five of the 14 professions working within our team. They make a huge contribution to enabling recovery and supporting wellbeing across all age groups in hospital and community settings.
Arts therapists, dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists work alongside medical and nursing colleagues to provide their unique perspective and expertise to work with service users and carers to achieve their goals.
Art therapists can help people to explore emotions, dietitians might help to enhance nutrition in eating disorders treatment. Working alongside an occupational therapist could help someone to return to work, being supported by physiotherapists could achieve a comfortable seating position. Working with a speech and language therapist to explore the use of assistive technology with can ensure a person is able to express their views, vital to having a good quality of life.
As we work toward joining with our colleagues in Gloucestershire Care Services, the future looks good for Allied Health Professionals. We will increase in size, grow in number of professions and have the potential to make a real change to how we deliver truly integrated care.
As quoted in ‘AHPS into Action’, a recent NHS England strategy document, “As AHPs we need to work together towards services that we aspire to provide rather than being constrained by organisational boundaries. We all have common goals in improving care and this needs to work in both acute and community without being limited by the structure that services are provided in”.
Happy Allied Health Professions Day!
Becca Shute, Head of Profession for Occupational Therapy