Allied Health Professionals

Who are AHPs?

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) are the third largest clinical workforce in the NHS. They have recognised professional titles that are protected by law. In order to use these professional titles, AHPs must be registered with a regulatory body. Most AHPs are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), with the only exception being Osteopaths who are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOC).

AHP Professions

In England, AHPs comprise of 14 distinct professional groups:

– Art Therapists

– Chiropodists/Podiatrists

– Dietitians

– Drama Therapists

– Music Therapists

– Occupational Therapists

– Operating Department Practitioners

– Orthoptists

– Osteopaths

– Paramedics

– Physiotherapists

– Prosthetists and Orthotists

– Radiographers

– Speech and Language Therapists

AHPs have a unique contribution to make. In collaboration with the wider healthcare system, they address service delivery challenges and priorities. AHPs provide high quality care to patients and clients across a wide range of care pathways and in variety of settings that include hospitals, community, primary care, local authorities, the independent and charitable sectors, prisons, hospices and schools. More information on AHPs can be found at NHS Health Careers: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/we-are-the-nhs/allied-health-professionals.

Health Education England South East AHP Team

– Rebecca Tyrrell, Regional Head of AHPs, Health Education England, South East

Rebecca worked in Oxfordshire as an NHS Podiatrist for over 20 years with a rewarding career spanning all four pillars of practice: leadership, education, clinical and quality improvement.

In 2014 Rebecca moved to NHS England before joining Health Education England (HEE) in 2017 leading on primary care workforce transformation.

Since 2020 Rebecca has been the Regional Head of AHPs, HEE, directing a workforce programme to ensure an effective supply of AHPs with the right skills in the right place to deliver high quality care across the South East region.

Information about Health Education’s role can be found here.

– Forida Yeasmin, Project Team Manager, Health Education England, South East

– Beth Gates, Project Support Coordinator, Health Education England, South East

If you would like to contact the South East AHP team, please email ahp.se@hee.nhs.uk.

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South East AHP Workforce Programme

Our regional aim is to deliver an effective supply of AHPs, supporting the deployment and development of this workforce. We will focus on retention of current staff, diversity and inclusion, as well as growing capacity through education and training.

Our regional AHP programme priorities for 2021/2022 aim to:

  • Build and strengthen the AHP leadership across the region.
  • Support the development of the AHP faculties to ensure sustainability and growth for all 14 AHPs.
  • Develop and retain our AHPs and support workforce to ensure they are supported to realise their full potential.

Key goals for the AHP programme in 2021/22 are to deliver a clinical placement expansion programme for AHPs, appoint and support four AHP clinical education improvement fellows, and bridge the gap between education and employment through early careers support.

More information can be found in the HEE South East Region Delivery Plan 2021/22.

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South East AHP Faculties

AHP faculties are groups of education and service providers that formally work together across an Integrated Care Partnership (ICS) or Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), to support and deliver a collective approach to enable AHP workforce recovery and growth.

There are six AHP faculties across the South East that support each of the ICS/STP in the region and report into their respective ICS/STP AHP Council.

Key priorities for the South East AHP Faculties include: coordination and expansion of quality learning environments, apprenticeships and widening participation, developing the AHP support workforce, work experience, promoting AHP careers, advancing practice, workforce development & return to practice (RTP), and bridging the gap between education & employment.

BOB AHP Faculty

Sajida Hanif: sajida.hanif@nhs.net

Frimley AHP Faculty

Will Firth w.firth@nhs.net

Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Kent and Medway

Maria Trotman: maria.trotman@nhs.net

Rebecca Taplin: rebecca.taplin@nhs.net

Surrey Heartlands

Michelle Offen: michelle.offen1@nhs.net

Camille Devaux: camille.devaux2@nhs.net

Sussex

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South East AHP Work Experience

The AHP faculties will be supporting work experience opportunities via a virtual on demand programme designed for both school aged students and mature career changers.

Please contact your AHP faculty or ahp.se@hee.nhs.uk for more information.

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South East AHP Fellowships

In November 2020 HEE South East recruited two AHP fellows for a 6 month fellowship.

Clinical Fellows

– Toni King

Toni King undertook this 6 month secondment to the Health Education South East Region AHP Clinical Fellow role between November 2020 and April 2021. She completed this role as part of her development to become a Consultant Occupational Therapist in Mental Health, and greatly enjoyed the opportunities to explore the development of a range of senior roles available to Allied Health Professionals working in mental health.

– Sarah Paterson

Sarah Paterson was seconded to the South East Region AHP Clinical Fellow role from November 2020 to April 2021 as part of a development programme to become a Consultant Physiotherapist in Stroke and Neurology. Through this work she had opportunity to network with senior clinicians and workforce leads to understand more about how organisations work within the System and the relevance of this for professional development in rehabilitation.

Reports:

Approved/Responsible Clinician Roles: Exploring the Gap for Occupational Therapy

Purpose: This report explores the gap between the national aspiration to increase the number of Occupational Therapists in Multi-Professional Approved Clinician roles and the current low uptake. The full report is supplemented by an executive summary and poster.

Method: An exploration of workforce data and a survey of Occupational Therapists in the South East provided descriptive data and qualitative themes. These were complimented by individual interviews and a focus group with Occupational Therapists who work in aligned roles.

Findings: Occupational Therapists are positive about and interested to know more about this role. Barriers for Occupational Therapists are couched in whole workforce readiness – ie there are limited opportunities for Occupational Therapists to work in the upper career pathway, reducing the pool from which senior clinical leaders can develop.

Value: This is the first paper to explore the views of Occupational Therapists about the MPAC role. It offers a number of recommendations which are positioned upstream from the current HEE implementation guidance.

Production: This study was completed by Toni King (Health Education England Allied Health Professions Clinical Fellow) in the South East under the guidance of Rebecca Tyrell (HEE Mental Health Advisor South East) and Lucy Locks (HEE Mental Health Advisor South East).

Spotlight on Allied Health Professionals in Advanced and Consultant Practice

Purpose: This report collates the variety and value of Allied Health Professionals (AHP) in Advanced and Consultant Practice roles in order to support AHP Leads advocating for changes in workforce. The report focuses on Community Rehab and Ageing Well plus Mental Health & Learning  Disability – both seen as ‘less acute’ therefore further from a traditional medical approach where the advanced practice role has a clearer identity.

Method: Quality improvement methodology was used to understand the gap the report needed to address, followed by interviews with forty AHP Advanced & Consultant practitioners. As part of the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle information from practitioners and Trusts, plus tools developed  by the authors were shared at an HEE South-East webinar with encouragement to trial and feedback to evolve the process further.

Findings: Across both settings Advanced and Consultant AHPs have found formalised education routes to be variable in applicability and availability and access to peer support and mentorship has been limited. The addition of the bio-psycho-social ‘layer’ when describing advanced practice enables the added-value of AHPs to be recognised as an advanced skill and the variety of case studies provided were a valued resource for webinar attendees. Tools developed to evaluate the impact of roles, templates and guidance undertaken by other Trusts were welcomed indicating that the appetite and need for this work is consistently high.  Infrastructure challenges in developing advanced and consultant roles for AHPs are consistently described and have specific nuances.

Value: This report constitutes the first contribution toward developing resources to support the development of AHP Advanced and Consultant roles in non-acute settings.  

Production: This study was completed by Sarah Paterson and Toni King, HEE south east(SE) Regional AHP Clinical  Fellows-November2020-April 2021. In addition to the final report, there is a summarised Power Point for AHP Leads, poster, 3 webinar recordings and 5 ‘bundles’ which include, templates for tools developed, workforce strategies and job descriptions.

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Clinical Education Improvement Fellowship

In 2021 Health Education England (HEE), in partnership with The Florence Nightingale Foundation and Canterbury Christ Church University, offered a fully funded 12 month Fellowship opportunity for up to six Allied Health Professionals to improve practice education across the South East region.

As part of this opportunity, the Fellows joined the Florence Nightingale Leadership Development programme. This programme has been developed with HEE to explore and discover their leadership style and develop the essential skills to be a courageous and confident leader. The Fellows will complete this programme and work on a project to drive innovation and quality improvement in the provision of practice placements within their local System and shared regionally.