The importance of recognising allied health professionals (AHPs) in non-AHP roles: the golden thread of the Personalised Care Group workforce

AHPs’ Day on 14 October 2021 is an opportunity for the 14 AHPs to come together and celebrate being part of the AHP family. The day showcases the impact AHPs make to the delivery of high quality care, and as the third largest clinical workforce in the NHS, they also have significant opportunities to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

AHP Day is an opportunity to celebrate all AHPs, including those in non-AHP roles

Being an occupational therapist has always given me a strong sense of pride, and despite at present being in a non-clinical role, having a career in the Personalised Care Group at NHS England NHS Improvement has only cemented that.

AHPs’ skills and mindset give us the potential to be strong leaders with compassion and an innate ability to promote high quality and personalised care for all. This year, I want to celebrate my fellow AHP colleagues in clinical and non-clinical roles.

We have several AHPs working within the Personalised Care Group. Using their diverse and unique skills they are working to refocus and deliver a major shift in culture to “what matters to you?”, rather than “what’s the matter with you?”.

Including AHPs in workforce transformation and pathway redesign

AHP leadership within the Personalised Care Group has made huge improvements in connecting the AHP workforce, developing personalised care approaches and embedding them within practice.

We know that embedding personalised care can improve experience and outcomes for people in health and care, improve satisfaction for clinicians, and reduce costs. To achieve these aims we must ensure that personalised care training for AHPs is readily available, particularly in advanced practice. We must also embed these requirements in priority clinical programmes across NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Collaborating with our partners at Health Education England*, my colleague, Aimee Robson @AimeeRobson4, Deputy Director of Personalised Care, and physiotherapist by profession, has supported the development of the Health Education England (HEE) roadmap to practice for advanced clinical practitioners across several AHP roles.

The roadmaps provide a clear educational pathway from undergraduate to advanced practice for clinicians pursuing a career in primary care. The primary care modules include managing complexity, mental and public health, illness identification, and red flags. These are complemented by a series of e-modules covering personalised care.

Over the past three years I have happily, yet unknowingly, bumped into AHPs working in non-clinical roles. Sarah Cooper @sarahlcooper, Senior Programme Manager, and physiotherapist by background, is supporting the national Long COVID programme to ensure that people living with the condition have access to personalised, holistic assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.

AHPs are an integral part of the workforce needed to deliver personalised care to people living with Long COVID. This end-to-end care pathway has been designed with personalised care as the first principle of care, a huge symbol demonstrating the importance that this shift in culture and approach has on care delivery. This is being strategically supported by the recently appointed Rachael Moses @NHSLeader, National Clinical Advisor for Personalised Care – Respiratory. Rachael is a consultant physiotherapist by profession and leads the way in AHPs embedding this personalised care approach across clinical pathways such as Long COVID.

We continue to work together across national and regional teams with AHPs at the helm to support a personalised, rehabilitation approach in Long COVID. This enables AHPs to use their unique skills in rehabilitation to care. A personalised care and support planning process based on what matters most to individuals is a crucial step in providing personalised care. Personalised care training for the workforce working along the care pathway is recommended within the Long COVID Assessment Clinic Commissioning Guidance.

Free personalised care training for AHPs

The Personalised Care Institute (PCI) offers all health and care professionals high quality training in personalised care and can be accessed by any AHP at any level of their career to support their knowledge, skills and confidence in personalised care approaches.

The first step in every personalised care training journey is the PCI’s 60-minute Core skills course. Other courses include Shared decision making and Personalised care and support planning. All PCI courses mentioned in this blog are free to access and offer Continuing Professional Development points on completion. For more information, or to register for a course visit the PCI virtual hub.

*The HEE roadmap to practice for advance practitioners was led by colleagues from HEE: Beverley Harden, HEE AHP Lead and Deputy Chief AHP Officer and Amanda Hensman, HEE National AHP Primary Care Clinical Lead and Consultant Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist.

Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson (she/her) is the Head of Clinical Workforce and Quality, Personalised Care Group at NHS England and Improvement. An occupational therapist by profession, she has held clinical and non-clinical roles across national and local footprints.

Kate (@krjacks) was previously the Allied Health Professional (AHP) Professional Advisor to the Ageing Well programme and Discharge and Community Cell as part of the COVID-19 response at NHS England and Improvement. She is married with two children, two stepchildren and two granddaughters.