Allied Health Professionals take up the innovation challenge

Suzanne Rastrick has praised Allied Health Professionals for their response to this year’s NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes.

NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer got a very positive reaction to her last minute online and Twitter appeal last month for AHPs to enter the Prizes.

“I am very pleased that our ‘digital call-to-action’ encouraged an additional 60 applications – many of these coming from people who picked up the news on Twitter,” said Suzanne.

“We know there is lots of good innovative work going on in terms of designing new ways of increasing the quality and efficiency of care, and this is a chance for AHPs to get some well-deserved recognition for all they are doing.

“We all look forward to the Challenge Prize showcasing event in early 2016, which will be hosted by Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Director for Innovation, at Anglia Ruskin University.”

When the deadline for entries closed on 19 October, 210 applications had been received for the Prizes which seek to encourage, recognise and reward front line innovation and drive the spread and adoption of these innovations across the NHS.

This year’s NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes are supported by the Allied Health Professions Federation, the Academic Health Science Networks, our National Clinical Directors, MSD and 3M. There is £240,000 in prize money to be awarded across the challenges, plus tailored professional mentoring and developmental support packages from our internal and external partners, which will support the spread and adoption of the winning innovations.

Suzanne explained how the awards are broken down into five categories, adding: “The NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Rehabilitation will recognise and award initiatives where people have been enabled to live a life they want to lead.”

“The Rehabilitation Acorn Challenge category is offering up to £10,000 for smaller ideas with the potential to make a big difference in the rehabilitation of patients.”

Other awards include:

  • The Cancer Challenge has a £100,000 award for modern, patient-focused initiatives.
  • The Best Practice Adoption award offers an ‘in kind’ prize package of mentoring and developmental support.
  • The Acorn Challenge Fund will share £50,000 amongst innovative ideas, with a maximum of £10,000 for each winner, including tailored professional support from NHS England and its external partners.

Next week shortlists of six or so applicants will be drawn up for each category. Expert panel sessions will be held in December and the Challenge Prize winners will be announced at a showcase event to be staged in early 2016.

  • Suzanne will be writing about the Innovation Challenge Prizes and other work of the Allied Health Professionals in a series of blogs in the coming weeks and months. You can also follow her on Twitter @SuzanneRastrick
  • To get updates on the Challenge Prizes on our Challenge Prizes pages or Twitter @ChallengePrizes
Suzanne Rastrick

Suzanne Rastrick is Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England.

She qualified as an occupational therapist in Oxford in 1986, and began her career in the acute hospital sector, moving to practice in community and primary care where she then gained her first general management role.

Suzanne was one of the first allied health professionals to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post, and has since held these roles in both providing and commissioning organisations in the NHS. She has also been Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust Cluster, and achieved authorisation for a large Clinical Commissioning Group with an integral commissioning support unit.

She has a Non-Executive portfolio in the commercial and not-for-profit housing sector, and sits on a number of national groups including NHS Employers Policy Board, Health Education England AHP Advisory Group, and England Centre for Practice Development National Advisory Board.

Suzanne was appointed as Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for NHS England on 1 September 2014. This role also has key professional leadership relationships to the Department of Health as well as to Health Education England.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter: @SuzanneRastrick