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18.01.17

NHS England offers AHPs greater involvement in STP delivery

A new shared commitment between England’s 145,000 allied health professionals (AHPs) will encourage them to provide innovation in the health and care system, NHS England has announced.

The new report ‘Allied Health Professions into Action has brought together the views of 12 AHP groups across England to give them greater involvement in sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) currently being drawn up across the country.

With over 145,000 AHPs registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, AHPs make up the third largest workforce in the health and care system, with examples of AHPs including chiropodists, dieticians, paramedics, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.

Launching the report, Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer for England, said: “Allied Health Professions into Action demonstrates a shared commitment to make greater use of the full range of allied health professionals in all aspects of service delivery to promote the adoption of new ways of working across the health and care system and to improve patient care.

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the development of this report, which took a unique approach in helping to develop and establish future policy.”

The new guidance published by NHS England looks to provide CCGs, provider organisations and local authorities with a framework to involve AHPs in delivering STPs by providing 53 examples of AHPs working innovatively to drive change in the NHS.

AHPs, patients and the general public were invited to contribute examples of innovative working via an online crowdsourcing platform, eventually leading to over 16,000 individual contributions from 2,000 people.

The development of the report built on visits made to vanguard sites of the New Care Models programme and a range of providers, also including input from STP leaders and a range of partner organisations such as NHS Employers.

Samantha Jones, director of the New Care Models Programme, said that AHPs will become more important than ever as the NHS continues to transform.

“[AHPs’] increasing clinical expertise, long experience in multidisciplinary working and flexible approach are exactly what our communities need as they work towards services that focus on helping people to stay well,” Jones said.

“The vanguards leading the way with the development of new care models have demonstrated just how central this workforce is, and local leaders should be using the great tools and information in Allied Health Professions into Action to make sure they are using their AHP workforce to the best possible effect, now and in the future.”

The report commits NHS England to establishing a national board to oversee and support delivery of the programme. The board will create monitoring systems and measure the programme’s success by interacting with agencies such as AHP professional bodies, NHS Improvement, NHS Digital, Health Education England, and Public Health England.

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