Investing in chief allied health professionals: insights from trust executives

Our guide summarises insights from trust executives on the role of the chief allied health professionals and associated key questions/recommendations. It will enable boards and clinicians to review and improve leadership arrangements for their allied health professions (AHP) workforce.

AHPs are the third largest clinical workforce in the NHS. Their practice is integral to most clinical pathways. They work across organisational boundaries, providing solution-focused, goal-centred care to support patients’ independence. As the NHS Long Term Plan notes, there has never been such a need to harness the AHP workforce’s potential for transforming healthcare. Successful outcomes will depend on effective leadership at all levels and across the entire AHP workforce – but without dedicated strategic chief AHP leadership, these outcomes will not be truly realised.

What is the purpose of this guide?

This guide shares the findings from a project we commissioned to gain insights from executives who had a chief AHP within their trust, particularly on the drivers, impacts and challenges of implementing these roles. It was developed to provide an evidence-based approach to reviewing and improving AHP leadership in trusts, by trust executives and clinicians.

Supporting resources

This guide supports the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan for clinical leadership to better equip leadership teams to tackle the challenges facing the NHS. It also supports the AHPs into action national framework and strategy, which focuses on the role of AHPs in transforming health, care and wellbeing. It should also be used alongside our Clinical leadership – a framework for action resource, which focuses on the importance of professional diversity in senior leadership teams as well as our Developing people – improving care framework to address improvement capability, leadership development and talent management.