In early 2016, the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Suzanne Rastrick, kicked off an effort to create a mandate for AHPs which would outline the wider role they could play and the benefits to the NHS of greater collaboration between them.
It was felt that that collective engagement was needed to make sure all AHPs had the opportunity to have their voice heard. It was also important that service users, the public and wider stakeholders were involved in this process. The mandate, now called "AHPs into Action" was therefore co-produced through an innovative online workshop platform. Over 16,000 contributions were submitted from patients, carers, the public, and health and care staff including AHPs.
The final document sets out the potential impact of AHPs, as well as our collective commitment and priorities. It is also intended for leaders and decision makers to make sure AHPs can be best utilised to support future health, care and wellbeing.
Fundamentally the document gives AHPs, commissioners and managers the authority to act to grow the role and impact of AHPs.
The BDA supports the aims of the AHPs into Action Strategy and will be working with NHS England, Public Health England and other AHP professional bodies to promote it. We submitted a number of case studies in the formative stages of the strategy and we will also be sharing and developing further case studies of innovation and best practice in future.
We also recognise that managers and commissioners are not always as open to suggestions of innovation or improvement as they should be. If you are finding that your good ideas to improve the services in your area are met with resistance, let us know. We can communicate this to colleagues in NHS England and elsewhere and support you to overcome those challenges.
Across England, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Intregrated Care Systems (ICS) have been developed bringing together health and care services in specific geographies to coordinate and improve health and care across their localities. Many of these have now formed AHP Councils, which bring together all AHPs to provide input to the STP/ICS process and shape AHP's involvement. This helps deliver the first priority of the AHPs Into Action Strategy; "AHPs can lead change". We would strongly encourage all our members to engage with these councils. If you are a part of an AHP Council, we'd love to hear from you.
The AHPs into Action document will only come to life if dietitians and others AHPs take steps to implement it in their own workplaces. The document contains plenty of great case studies which highlight how AHPs can help transform NHS care by working with other health professions and one another. But we shouldn't stop there. If you are successful in implementing something innovative in your workplace, let us know about it!