I am the Director of Allied Health Professionals which is a sub-board position. I am also the Professional and Strategic AHP Lead across the organisation. My role reports to the Director of Nursing.
I found that having the title of director, has helped elevate my position. It also opens doors so that I can influence at a strategic and board position level both internal and external to the organisation. The seniority of my role reflects the organisation’s desire to raise the profile of AHPs within the trust and more widely within the system.
The turning point
Having held Head of Service and Head of Therapy posts previously, I had reached a glass ceiling professionally. As such I progressed in senior operational, quality and transformational roles outside AHP professional and operational leadership. This was instrumental to being successful in the Director of AHPs position.
My clinical profession is represented through the Director of Nursing at the board. Diversity of AHP professions is difficult to represent without specialist professional knowledge and this can result in potential opportunities for AHPs being lost, despite excellent working relations with the Director of Nursing.
Key barriers/challenges and how I worked through these
is a lack of professional AHP roles or opportunities to progress at senior and
strategic level beyond band 8b/8c. This results in the potential to lose
talented individuals from senior clinical leadership. There has been some
improvement with opportunities from NHS England and NHS Improvement. These
national roles also provide essential peer support.
is a lack of a clear leadership pathway for AHPs.
personally left the professional AHP leadership pathway as could not progress
further. My ambition was always to be a director of AHPs, however due to lack
of opportunity I started to follow senior leadership outside AHPs, until this
recent opportunity arose.
Organisational support to make this happen
Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust recognised the value of AHPs to the organisation’s success and so invested in the director of AHPs role. Recognising AHPs diversity and ensuring their voice is heard at board raises the profile, and unique contribution AHPs make to Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust.
My top tips
positive, always offer AHP solutions to system-wide challenges.
creatively and differently as our training has facilitated.
options open, AHPs can lead within and outside their own professions.
prepared to do something different if there are limitations to AHP leadership
operational roles/national secondments/transformational roles enhance the
knowledge and experience you bring back to AHP leadership.