#AHPsDay goes international!

The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer previews a proud day in the calendar

Thee first ever Allied Health Professions (AHP) Day was held in October 2018 in the spirit of our national framework AHPs into Action.

This grassroots initiative, started through a conversation between two colleagues on a bus in Cornwall, led to AHPs across England finding hundreds of innovative ways to celebrate being part of the AHP community, with promotional events, executive shadowing and even flashmobs.

I spent the day on a bus with local AHPs, non-executives and executives from local health organisations travelling round Cornwall visiting a range of services and presenting tokens to those identified as having made outstanding contributions.

Building on the success of last year, this year AHPs’ day is on Monday 14 October 2019. Interest in the day has grown significantly and has spread from England to colleagues across the United Kingdom with events happening in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

If this achievement was not enough, colleagues from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore will also be joining in the celebrations and have adopted the 14th October as their AHPs’ day too.

This year colleagues in Rotherham and Bristol are taking the lead to head up events.

Rotherham are proud to be the northern flagbearers and are splitting their day to maximise their impact, with activities promoting roles and careers in both hospital and community settings.

They will be holding events in the hospital to promote the professions and are being joined by the Executive Team. They will also be running a poster completion to help share their work more widely whenever the opportunity arises.  In the afternoon they are holding a careers event at a local university with AHP course leaders which will be attended by students from local secondary schools and colleges.

Further south, the North Bristol AHPs are the cheerleaders. They will be showcasing the integral role in clinical pathways by releasing a short film on social media, which will underline their central role in the major trauma pathway from admission to discharge and beyond. They will also be curating videos of AHPs talking about the aspects of their roles that might surprise people.

Our national team will be hosting a live webinar on the morning, during which there will be a question and answer session. A recording of the webinar will be available to be played at any point during the day. Details of how to access this will be circulated through the Chief AHP forum, on the NHS England AHPs day web page and via Twitter.

In the evening  there will be twitter chat from 7:00pm until 8:00pm, this will be an opportunity to share what you have all been doing to celebrate during the day and any ideas this has generated for future events.

To support you with your events, we have created a page on the NHS England website that gives you more information about AHPs day. On this you will also find a link to the AHPs day resources page which has been created by some of our colleagues out in the service, which has useful graphics, links to AHP career resources and much more. This website also has a link to the AHPs day Zee maps, it would be fantastic to be able to see what you are all planning for this amazing day of celebration. If you are promoting what you are doing on twitter please make sure you use #AHPsDay in your tweets!

I will, as you will see from the map, be heading to Liverpool to spend the day at Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital and some other AHP services in the area.

Suzanne Rastrick

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.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter/X @SuzanneRastrick or Instagram @chief_ahp_officer_england

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  1. Catherine Turnbull says:

    Australian AHPs are looking forward to joining in the celebrations around the world on 14 October 2019 for the first time #AHPsDay