Long Term Action for Allied Health Professions

The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer previews her 5th annual conference to be held in London on July 18:

Demand for this year’s conference surprised us all, we reached the maximum delegate capacity just two weeks after announcing the date.

The agenda for the day is packed with a great variety of speakers, workshops and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions as well as many exhibition stands. For those who are unable to attend, we will be streaming some of the plenary sessions live via periscope.

With the launch of the NHS Long Term plan in January this year, the conference provides a great opportunity for Allied Health Professionals to hear from speakers about the contribution AHPs can make to achieving the ambitions set out within it.

Caroline Dineage, Minister of State for Care will open the conference and provide a vison as to how she sees AHPs meeting the ambitions of the NHS long Term plan

Dr Aiden Fowler, Director of Patient Safety, NHS England and NHS Improvement, will talk about the new NHS Patient Safety Strategy and its recognition, that to improve safety, there needs to be improvements in the way we learn, treat staff and involve citizens.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the The Health Foundation, will be providing us with her perspectives on the NHS Long Term Plan and what that means for health and care in the future.

In the afternoon we will be joined by Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement, who has been leading the work to develop the Interim NHS People Plan and is continuing to support the work to develop the full NHS People Plan, which will published later this year. 

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to Professor Matthew Cripps, Director of Sustainable Healthcare, NHS England and NHS Improvement. His presentationHarnessing People Power – Change champions, enhancing impact and being right’ will provide our audience with plenty to think about in terms of innovation and leading change.

Our final speaker for the afternoon is Peter Homa, Chair of The Leadership Academy. ‘Leadership: We live life forwards and understand it backwards’, which includes a reflection of past leaders who have shaped health and care, and a look to the those who he sees as intrinsic to its future.

During the day there will also be an opportunity to attend seminar sessions themed around the 6 key ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, hosted by representatives from the four arm’s length bodies and the national AHP leadership teams. The sessions will provide practical examples of how to AHPs can support delivery of these ambitions:

  • Doing things differently, through a new service model
  • Preventing illness and tackling health inequalities
  • Improve Care quality and outcome for major conditions
  • Backing our workforce
  • Making better use of data and digital technology
  • Ensure we get the most out of taxpayers’ investment in the NHS

The lunch and learn sessions will look at a variety of subjects including ‘AHPS into Action on Cancer’, ‘Nice into Action’ and ‘Personalised Care’. I encourage those attending to pick up some lunch and join one of these sessions.

On the day of the conference we will be publishing the latest of our quick guides, AHPs supporting the enhancing health in care homes framework. The NHS Long Term Plan includes rolling out the enhancing health in care homes framework, as one of four strategic priorities for community health services. It includes an upgrade of NHS support to all care home residents, including a focus on nutrition, hydration with support from the right professionals when they have been unwell, including rehabilitating.

This quick guide provides top tips for AHP services to consider, to support meeting these priorities, along with a range of best practice case study examples, covering six of the key areas – enhanced primary care support, nutrition and hydration, rehabilitation and reablement, end of life care and dementia, and digital and technology.

At the end of this full agenda I will be announcing which organisation or region will be hosting me for ‘AHPs Day’ on the 14th October 2019.

The NHS Long Term Plan creates a wealth of opportunities for AHPs, over the next 12 months we will commence work to refresh the national strategy for AHPs, AHPs into Action. This work will focus on the ways AHPs can support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The conference will provide a great platform for us to explore how we can meet these ambitions now and for the future.

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