To mark National Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) Day, Gabrielle Richards MBE and Head of Inclusion, Recovery, Professional Head of Occupational Therapy and AHPs shares information on the new national AHP strategy.
Today is National Health Professional (AHPs) Day. It’s a day where we celebrate the contribution of AHPs to the health and wellbeing of the people we care for. We held an AHP conference to celebrate the work of our AHPs across the Trust.
There are 14 professions that make up the AHP workforce and we are the third largest workforce in the NHS behind nurses and medics. Within the Trust we have a number of those professions, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, speech and language therapists, radiographers, art therapists, music and drama therapists. Its wonderful to see the range of AHPs who work within the Trust.
I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) and have worked in mental health all of my long career. I wouldn’t want to work in any other practice area. We make such a vital and unique contribution to mental health. I have had the pleasure of working with fantastic nursing, medical and psychology colleagues whilst working clinically and for some time now, have been managing and professionally supporting the AHPs within the Trust. AHPs’ holistic approach to healthcare enables them to support and promote patients’ care and recovery throughout the life course. Their primary focus is on prevention and improvement of health and wellbeing to maximise the potential for people to live full and active lives. It is a real pleasure and honour to lead the AHP workforce in South London and Maudsley.
Recently the new national AHP strategy was launched, called AHPs Deliver. The new strategy is for the whole AHP community: support workers, assistant practitioners, registered professionals, pre-registration apprentices and students. It is inclusive and reflects how AHPs work in multidisciplinary teams, so that those who identify as part of the AHP community working in a variety of health and care sectors can use it to continually improve and redesign services. But it is also designed for others to see the depth and breath of the work that AHPs contribute to the whole health care landscape.
The strategy is underpinned by the principles of anti-racism and coproduction, skills and workforce, leadership, research and innovation and data and digital.
The areas for focus going forward are:
• People first
• Optimising care
• Social justice: addressing health and care inequalities
• Environmental sustainability
• Strengthening and promoting the AHP community
Our Trust AHP conference showcased presentations addressing these themes which was stimulating and interesting.