Allied Health Professions Into Action

NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer previews the launch of the next stage of AHPs shaping the future of health care:

In the last nine months many members of the 12 Allied Health Professions have undertaken a fascinating and hugely productive journey in helping to develop future policy.

I believe this journey to be unique to Western Europe and has involved other health and care professionals and the public.

They have come together to help shape strategy and policy via crowdsourcing as a method to air their views.

The benefit being that unlike a physical workshop, crowdsourcing provides a virtual room, in which any number of people can join, through any web-connected device, over a period of days or weeks to ensure a diverse audience have the chance to have their voice heard.

By asking specific questions and then utilising analytics to generate the insights arising from responses, this methodology has been utilised to draft a mandate for change for AHPs that is co-created and therefore co-owned.

It began back in April last year and entered a second phase as the “Mandate for Change” following my conference in June.

That led to no fewer than 16,000 individual contributions from 2,000 people out of 3,500 who signed up to take part in the debate, putting forward ideas and opinions, and voting on the best of them.

The product resulting from this collective work is ‘AHPs into Action’ which will be launched on 17 January 2017.

It defines how AHPs can support local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) and implement actions to respond to the three priorities set out in the Five Year Forward View: driving improvements in health and wellbeing; restoring and maintaining financial balance and delivering core quality standards.

AHPs are the third largest workforce in the health and care system and ‘AHPs into Action’ seeks to define how England would be different if AHPs were genuinely used effectively.

As this work was developed to actively include feedback from public and clinician participation we wish to continue this at, and beyond, the launch. We will be reopening the digital platform at the launch to seek thoughts on what individuals will take ‘intoAction’ themselves.

We will also be periscoping live the launch event to be held from 2.45pm to 5pm at Church House in Westminster next Tuesday and @WeAHPs will shortly be blogging details of how you can see this and participate in other social media activity under at: #AHPsintoAction.

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. lesley platts says:

    Hi I am keen to understand NHSE view on Designated Clinical Officers which are predominantly being taken up by expert clinicians in therapy across the country. These roles developed as part of the C&F Act and SEND reforms, but are not statutory, yet they represent health services at tribunals and are key part of the joint inspection and monitoring EHCP. Is there going to be the development program for these new therapy staff?

  2. frank lee says:

    one wouldd have thought that professionals zwould hhave consulted each other about best practice a!ready, what is so unique about ahp’s. congribution ?

  3. Francesco Palma says:

    Slide 79 (taken from on line workshop and data presented at conference) from the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s Conference 2016 shows that the percentage of service users/patients involved amounted to 0%.

    Slide 79 presentation link below

    Uncertain if this should be of concern to the AHP owned Mandate for Change Policy if service users/Patients (no mention of Carers)are not involved.
    AHP’s into Action does not appear to address the lack of meaningful engagement of service users/patient/carers and public which was demonstrated with the mandate for change.
    The one of aims and vision of the HCPC is to work in partnership with the public,struggle to see how the above has been achieved, reference to HCPC Strategic Intent 2016 objective 3 Effective Communication:To extend engagement with the public

  4. Francesco Palma says:

    Reference is made that the draft mandate was co-created therefore Co-owned, Co-production can be described as using the lived experience of LT conditions of patients as assets with skills,I struggle to see how Co-Design between 1 AHP to another leads to Co-Creation.
    The journey of the student AHP to registration with HCPC is covered by both Standards of Education & Training(SET) and once qualified by Standards of Proficiency(SOP) which both require active involvement of patients/service users and carers, seems to me that both SET & SOP are not practiced beyond registration if the article can develop policy with no patients/service users/carers in the room in the capacity such as Lay advisors rather than on-line consultees.