AHPs are the third largest clinical workforce in the NHS. Their practice is integral to most clinical pathways. They work across organisational boundaries, providing solution-focused, goal-centred care to support patients’ independence. As the NHS Long Term Plan notes, there has never been such a need to harness the AHP workforce’s potential for transforming healthcare. Successful outcomes will depend on effective leadership at all levels and across the entire AHP workforce — but without dedicated strategic chief AHP leadership, these outcomes will not be truly realised.
What is the purpose of this guide?
This guide shares the findings from a project we commissioned to gain insights from executives who had a chief AHP within their trust, particularly on the drivers, impacts and challenges of implementing these roles. It was developed to provide an evidence-based approach to reviewing and improving AHP leadership in trusts, by trust executives and clinicians.
This guide describes insights and evidence from NHS trust executives, and its primary audience is intended to be board members and AHPs within trusts. However, the findings will also interest commissioners and other system leaders who recognise the potential of the chief AHP role to lead and deliver transformation across sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems.
This guide supports the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan for clinical leadership to better equip leadership teams to tackle the challenges facing the NHS. It also supports the AHPs into action national framework and strategy, which focuses on the role of AHPs in transforming health, care and wellbeing. It should also be used alongside our Clinical leadership – a framework for action resource, which focuses on the importance of professional diversity in senior leadership teams as well as our Developing people – improving care framework to address improvement capability, leadership development and talent management.
- Leadership of allied health professionals in trusts in England: what exists and what matters (June 2018)
- Clinical leadership framework – a framework for action (January 2019)
- Clinical leadership case study: occupational therapist and director of AHP and psychology professions (January 2019)
- Clinical leadership case study: physiotherapist and director of allied health professionals (January 2019)
- ‘Why we must invest now in professional diverse leadership’ – by Stuart Palma