UK-wide Allied Health Professional plan launches

Public health strategy for AHPs has been developed by four governments and 15 professional bodies

Wednesday 8th May 2019

NHS bodies and allied health professional (AHP) representatives have today launched the first-ever UK-wide strategy for the professions, with the aim of providing “a united approach to public health for the AHPs across all four nations.”

The third largest sector of the NHS workforce across the UK, AHPs are healthcare professionals that are distinct from nurses and doctors, such as speech and language, occupational and physical therapists.

Experts from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have drawn up the strategy, which commits to putting public health at the heart of the AHP workforce by working with education providers, employers and professional bodies.

They hope ‘public health will be a core element of all AHP roles and the impact of AHPs on the population’s health and reducing health inequalities will be increasingly recognised.’

The authors, including the Scottish Government, commit themselves to undertaking studies to demonstrate the value of AHP-led interventions and promise to support research into how AHPs can lead on public health.

Elsewhere, there are commitments to bring in new awards to recognise and promote the vital role AHPs play, to better integrate AHPs into the wider health and social care system and to use them to improve health and wellbeing across the wider health workforce.

Each government and the professional bodies behind the strategy will now work to draw up specific plans for each nation that will set out how each goal will be achieved.

Julia Scott of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists said: "Improving public health is a recurring thread through policy in all four nations and AHPs have been leading the way for some time with prevention initiatives and tackling social inequalities impacting on health.

“So, for the first time, the publication of this framework firmly places the role of AHPs at the forefront of public health. It sets out a confident future vision to utilise the AHP workforce effectively, positively impacting on the health of the population."