The Allied Health Professions (AHPs) are the third largest clinical workforce in the health and care. In the main they are degree level professions and are professionally autonomous practitioners. There are currently 14 registerable titles for AHPs: 13 of the 14 AHPs are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) with Osteopaths regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
AHPs provide system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose, and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors. Through adopting a holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs can help manage patients’ care throughout the life course from birth to palliative care. Their focus is on prevention and improvement of health and wellbeing to maximise the potential for individuals to live full and active lives within their family circles, social networks, education, training, and the workplace.
Find out more about the fourteen allied health professions.
The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer
Professor Suzanne Rastrick OBE, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.
Suzanne qualified as an Occupational Therapist from Oxford. Suzanne was the first Allied Health Professional (AHP) to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post in both provider and commissioning organisations. She became the Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust, where a particular highlight was having leadership responsibility for delivering health resilience and health ‘blue light’ services during the Olympic sailing events held in Dorset in 2012. She subsequently gained authorisation for a large Clinical Commissioning Group, before moving to her current post with NHS England. She was appointed as Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England in September 2014.
In 2017 Suzanne launched the first AHP strategy for England which has been recognised as ground-breaking in policy development from its use of crowdsourcing. Building on this, Suzanne published the second AHP strategy – ‘AHPs Deliver’ in June 2022. This iteration had a greater emphasis on patient, public voice and specifically the inclusion of those who may be digitally excluded along with communities who may find it difficult to connect with traditional consultation methods. The result is a national strategy crowdsourced from diverse populations for people and communities AHPs serve.
For over three decades, Suzanne has held non-executive portfolios outside of the NHS, including audit committee chair roles, predominantly in the housing and charitable sector. Suzanne was recognised as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2019. In 2023 Suzanne was awarded a Visiting Professor role at St George’s, University of London and at Oxford Brookes University.