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, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England

Suzanne Rastrick has been NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer since September 2014.

Her pivotal role includes taking the lead in developing the vital contribution from the 12 allied health professions (AHPs) to further improve the commissioning and services provided by AHPs to achieve better outcomes for patients after illness and injury.

She works alongside colleagues both within and outside of NHS England, as the senior adviser to the Department of Health on AHP matters, as well as representing England’s health professionals on the international stage.

Suzanne qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from Oxford in 1986 and began her career in the acute hospital sector.

She was one of the first allied health professionals (AHPs) to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post. She has also been Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust Cluster, and has a Non-Executive portfolio in the commercial and not for profit Housing Sector and sits on a number of national groups.

Since 2013, she has played a prominent role in clinical commissioning, as Interim Chief Executive of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group during its shadow form, followed by Director of Quality.