Dr Joanne Fillingham Harnessing the value of allied health professionals

So how will NHSI and those wider ALBs support the delivery of AHPs Into Action across provider organisations and wider across the system? What I’m wanting to do is talk about the four priorities that we need to keep a focus on as AHPs. So priority one, AHPs can lead change. In AHPs Into Action it says that there’s a recognition that AHPs can be effective leaders at all levels and in all sectors, and that’s really, really crucial in terms of system leadership, distributed leadership, which is so crucial for services moving forward. And we are already starting to see movement in terms of that…as I said recognition of AHP leadership. These are just the three recent examples, South Staffordshire and Shropshire recently appointed to their director of Allied Health Professions role. Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust also earlier in the year appointed too a director of therapies, and out to advert at the moment is Tees Esk and Wear Valleys who are appointing too a director of therapies. So these organisations I think are really forward looking organisations as really seeing that diversity of leadership at the board level as crucial.

So moving on to priority two which is AHP skills can be further developed. And in AHPs Into Action it says ‘To achieve the five year forward views ambitions a broader multi professional workforce is required’. To be in a state of readiness for future care in terms of the workforce we need to be able to answer these four questions. The first is, what is it that your members of your profession can do that nobody else can do? So be really confident about what your unique selling point is, what’s absolutely core to you that no other profession can do? The second part is about what is it that we do now or that our profession does or that our team does that actually we don’t need to do that we could up-skill others to do or train them and safely delegate to hand off some of those skills that we don’t actually need to do anymore. The third is about enhancing the skills of ourselves. So what is it if we hand some stuff off, what skills can we take on that we could free up other parts of the system? And the fourth part is about us understanding what we all share and that we’re all responsible for in pursuit of great quality care.

So swiftly moving on to priority three which is AHPs evaluating prove and evidence the impact of their contribution. In AHPs Into Action it describes there needs to be routine collection of consistent and comprehensive data on the impact of AHPs on the quality of care to individuals and populations. Now again on my visits and in my experience, at a clinician patient level or a clinician service user level, I know that we use outcome measures very well and we do demonstrate the quality of care at that clinician service user level. What I think we struggle with is being able to identify those data sets that then can collect that data consistently at a regional and/or a national level. So having some national data sets which demonstrate AHP services are safe, effective, they deliver a positive experience for patients, the public service users, that they’re well led, and that they demonstrate sustainable use of resources, it’s something that we’re really, really grappling with.

And priority four, AHPs can utilise information and technology. Some of you will know that Chris Austin was working on an AHP informatics strategy, Chris moved on and Michael Folan now has been appointed in the informatics service. He has a vision that there should be a blueprint for the digitisation of AHP services that supports AHP leaders across provider organisations in all these different areas in terms of the digitisation to support us to not only optimise quality and productivity in working practices, but really utilising digital to take forward our services. And what he’s proposing in this digital mature AHP services framework for action are two ambitions. And those two ambitions, the first ambition really will focus on digital pathways of care, and the second ambition will really focus on outcome measures. I couldn’t talk about the priorities without showing that all of these winners here have really demonstrated how they’re moving forward with those priorities in AHPs Into Action.

And it was a real honour to judge the practice innovator award of which NHSI supported and sponsored, when we had over 80 applicants to that award it was just really mind blowing and just shows how AHPs are really taking AHPs Into Action and moving forward with it as an influencing document. So thanks very much for listening.