AHPs into action – our first year


Joanne Fillingham, our Clinical Director Allied Health Professions (AHP), shares progress made one year on from the launch of AHPs into Action.

This has been a whirlwind year, as celebrated in the blog from Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England.  We mainly focused on ensuring national projects and programmes such as the safe, sustainable and productive staffing programme, the patient falls improvement collaborative and  the national programme for seven day hospital services make full use of the knowledge and skills of the wider multiprofessional team.

My focus has been on engaging AHPs, via senior AHP leaders across NHS providers, in regional and national priorities and key projects and programmes.

AHP operational productivity

Delivering the commitments of AHPs into Action demands the optimisation of the AHP workforce which forms the cornerstone of the Carter work on operational productivity.  Rosalind Campbell, AHP professional lead, has been driving the work to develop and implement measures for analysing AHP deployment which in turn will identify opportunities for improvements by highlighting unexplained variances in service quality and efficiency. Lots of trusts are already putting job planning into action and using the AHP job planning guidance

We supported  AHP leads with regional engagements in June and July 2017 focused on the AHP productivity programme, the importance of data, and how it is being used to inform the Model Hospital.  If you work in an NHS trust you can register to access the Model Hospital here NHS Improvement - Model Hospital.

AHP leadership

It is great to see growing realisation of the need for a stronger AHP voice in trusts.

Over the last 12 months I have been contacted by directors of nursing, AHP leads and other senior leaders in provider organisations for support with AHP leadership.  There’s no evidence base for what ‘good’ AHP leadership should look like in trusts, what happens to quality and productivity when AHP leadership is missing, and how people develop into strategic AHP leaders.  We’ve therefore commissioned Kingston University Enterprise Limited (KUEL) to answer these questions with an evaluation that ends in the spring.

My blog for The King’s Fund in July 2017 Realising the Potential of Allied Health Professions says more about just why AHP leadership is so crucial to the delivery of future care. 

AHP workforce and retention

A second round of regional events towards the end of the year focused on workforce and retention. We shared insights into national workforce policy and planning, workforce supply, demand and retention, and listened to people’s local experiences around workforce opportunities and challenges.  The analysis of these events will contribute to the consultation of Health Education England’s Workforce Strategy.

Urgent and emergency care – supporting flow

AHPs into Action, Impact 2 commits AHPs to ‘support and provide solutions to urgent and emergency services to address demand’. In January this year, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a framework to support winter pressures 2017/18 which includes the contributions of AHPs to therapy-led units; identifying and caring for a cohort of patients who are medically fit for discharge with the right therapeutic conditions. 

This is just one contribution of AHPs to urgent and emergency care. Over the last 12 months I have visited and heard of several models of delivery and/or service redesigns that have supported patient flow and we are currently working on a quick guide to this work.

Looking to the future

Two AHP clinical fellows have joined NHS Improvement and over the next 12 months will focus on  AHP leadership and the AHP contribution to the Mental Health Five Year Forward View

It has been a privilege and pleasure to be able to learn, share and support AHP practice. Let’s continue to work together to improve patient (service user, person) care, outcomes and experience – AHPs into Action!

For more information on the programmes contact:

For more information on AHPs into Action, see:

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