Allied Health Professions have the power to shape the NHS

The Allied Health Professions have the power, ability and scope to shape the future of the NHS.

That was one of the key messages to around 400 delegates who have gathered today for the annual Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s Conference in London, which has the theme of AHP Innovation Delivering #FutureNHS .

Roz Davies, Managing Director with We Love Life and Recovery Enterprises, said: “As a collective group your reach is so far and wide and your ability to innovate so very powerful .”

Speaking about Putting the ‘We’ into ‘Wellbeing’, she told the audience made up of senior Allied Health Professions leaders and others from a multitude of professional backgrounds: “There are three key things that need to be part of health system: patients are people and so much more than the illness they have; we need relationships built on trust, and people need to feel valued.”

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, said she wanted the conference to “showcase all 12 professions that I represent”  adding: “It’s about connecting us together across the country and internationally.”

She spoke about the various AHP achievements over the past year, including continuing to work towards medicine prescribing for radiographers and paramedics.

She also highlighted the huge interest among the AHP workforce in getting involved with the Mandate for Change programme, saying:  “We had a three week digital window on the Mandate For Change and we received over 10,000 responses with people sharing opinions and ideas. This represents amazing engagement across the Allied Health Professions.”

The CAHPO also announced the launch of three key initiatives:

  • AHPs4PH a Facebook group of AHPs with an interest in public health.
  • #EEAHP Evidence for Everyday Allied Health is a Cochrane UK series with the aim to give AHPs relevant evidence and resources, in quick and easy formats, though social media.
  • #WeActiveChallenge and #AHPsActive a healthy competition to inspire, motivate and encourage, through a sense of community, role modelling a healthy lifestyle by being active.

Daniel Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, explained how it had commissioned a study by the Nuffield Trust into Reshaping the Workforce.

“We talked to the Trust looking at the future of the workforce,” he said. “But the truth is the health service is seduced by the ‘new’ and we also want to focus on existing workforce.

“There are opportunities to extend and expand existing workforce but we have a real challenge in terms of competing for scarce skills and filling workforce gaps. We need to build new roles on a detailed understanding of patient needs.

“Our message to various Boards is to invest in workforce redesign even if investment is tight. We believe that redesigning and reskilling our workforce is a way of taking healthcare forward.”

Paul Taylor, an Innovation Coach with Birmingham-based housing group, Bromford Lab, spoke about sharing learning and connecting sectors through open innovation.

He explained: “Bromford is a housing group, and housing has a key link with what health professions and health professionals do. We focus on people issues. For example, one of the things we are working on currently is people’s loneliness.

“A lot of us are working on the same things. We need to be open and share working and thinking and close the gaps between us. We need to solve things in the open and by working together through networks. The opportunities we’ve got to connect communities is unprecedented and we have to take it.”

NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens is due to address the conference via live video link later today.

Delegates are also taking part in workshops from which they can take away innovative ideas from their AHP colleagues who will present their solutions to the challenges they have faced in the delivery of care and quality, and health and wellbeing, and efficiency.

  • You can get further updates on the conference from Twitter at #CAHPO16 and live main stage presentations can be viewed by periscope via @WeAHPs
  • The Reshaping the Workforce report is available on the Nuffield Trust website.