Allied Health Professions join forces to help shape future healthcare

England’s 145,000 Allied Health Professionals will be encouraged to innovate and lead within the NHS and wider care system under a new shared commitment published by NHS England today.

Allied Health Professions into Action‘ has bought together the views of the third largest workforce in the health and care system, including chiropodists, dieticians, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, art therapists and speech and language therapists. It sets out how the 12 Allied Health Professional groups across England can be at the forefront of innovative changes to patient care and shape future health policy by having a full involvement in transformation plans being developed across the country.

The new guidance aims to provide a blueprint for Clinical Commissioning Groups, provider organisations, health leaders and local authorities to fully utilise and involve Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in transformation programmes and the delivery of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. It offers 53 examples of AHPs working to drive and support change by working innovatively, and a framework to help utilise AHPs in the development and delivery of transformation planning.

Allied Health Professions into Action‘ has taken a collaborative approach in its development by inviting AHPs and the wider health, social and care workforce, including patients and the general public, to contribute via an online platform using crowdsourcing as a method to air their views and then vote on them. More than 16,000+ individual contributions from 2,000 people were put forward in this way.

The report was launched by the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England, Suzanne Rastrick, alongside health writer and commentator, Roy Lilley; Dr Peter Thomond, Managing Director Clever Together; Samantha Jones, Programme Director New Care Models; and Professor Don Berwick, Institute for Healthcare.

Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (CAHPO) for England, Suzanne Rastrick, said: “‘Allied Health Professions into Action‘ demonstrates a shared commitment to make greater use of the full range of allied health professionals in all aspects of service delivery to promote the adoption of new ways of working across the health and care system and to improve patient care.

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the development of this report, which took a unique approach in helping to develop and establish future policy. Members of the Allied Health Professions are highly skilled and experienced, diverse and autonomous which gives them a unique and valuable contribution a critical time of change in the health system.”

Allied Health Professions into Action‘ sets out how members can be fully involved in Sustainability and Transformation Plans. The development of the work follows visits made to vanguard sites of the new care models programme and a range of provider organisations. The engagement and drafting process also included input from STP leaders and a range of partner organisations – including NHS Employers.

Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme said: “Allied Health Professionals have always provided a range of vital roles in our health service and in our communities, but as the NHS continues to transform they become even more important than ever. Their increasing clinical expertise, long experience in multidisciplinary working and flexible approach are exactly what our community’s need as they work towards services that focus on helping people to stay well. The vanguards leading the way with the development of new care models have demonstrated just how central this workforce is, and local leaders should be using the great tools and information in ‘Allied Health Professions into Action‘ to make sure they are using their allied health professional workforce to the best possible effect, now and in the future.”

Allied Health Professions into Action‘ also commits to establish a national programme board to oversee and support delivery. This group will establish monitoring systems and measure success in partnership with a range of agencies including the AHP professional bodies, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital, Health Education England, and Public Health England.

There are 12 Allied Health Professional groups across England, with over 145,000 AHPs registered with the regulator the Health and Care Professions Council.