Long term action for Allied Health Professions

The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer looks at the NHS Long Term Plan and what it means for the Allied Health Professions (AHPs):

With over 20 commitments that explicitly reference our services, and many more of direct relevance, the NHS Long Term Plan is significant for the 14 allied health professions.

This includes:

  • New service models – such as urgent care, community and intermediate care, and expanded community multidisciplinary teams.
  • More NHS action on prevention and health inequalities.
  • Progress on care quality and outcomes – including cancer, radiotherapy, postnatal continence, mental health, cardiac rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Development of Integrated Care Systems across the country by April 2021
  • Workforce planning and leadership.
  • Digitally enabled care.

This is both significant for AHPs and the patients and populations we serve.

Over the next few months the national AHP leadership team will work together to support the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan by developing our work on AHPs into Action.

Working with colleagues across health and care, we will identify how best to support Integrated Care Systems, commissioners and providers in maximising the contribution of AHPs to achieving the ambitions set out in the plan.

The Secretary of State has asked Baroness Dido Harding to take forward the development of the workforce implementation plan. To support this work I will lead the AHP Future Workforce Group, engaging with the professional bodies and other key partners on priorities for the AHP workforce.

But what does this mean for AHPs?

To achieve the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan AHPs will need to step forward, lead change, and work in partnership with health and social care colleagues across local systems.

The Chief AHP Officer awards 2019, launched this month, are an important opportunity to recognise where AHPs are already making a significant difference to priority areas in the Long Term Plan. I encourage you to submit your examples of improving and transforming services.

This summer the annual Chief AHP Officer’s conference on 18 July 2019 will focus on the key areas of the Long Term Plan for AHPs. This will open for bookings in February.

You can also join a @WeAHPs tweetchat on the NHS Long Term Plan on Thursday 31 January and discuss AHP perspectives from around the country.

There is much for AHPs to contribute to and engage with in the coming months and years.

The NHS Long Term Plan very much sees AHPs as intrinsic to improving care. With leadership and support from AHPs around the country, we will maximise the benefit for our patients and populations.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *