16 Aug 2018

Written by Rachael Brandreth, Joint Professional Lead for Dietetics at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and Co-Founder of AHPsDay

What is #AHPsDay?

AHPs Day is a social movement to allow us to come together and focus on our brilliant professions. It is a chance to recognise the contribution of Allied Health Professionals, and a chance to get to know and celebrate our skills and achievements with your colleagues. You may already know that our 14 professions make up the 3rd largest workforce in the NHS, but can you name all of the professions and describe their roles? AHP Day can be whatever you want it to be. Tweet chats so far have shown that people are interested in getting to know each other better, recognising that we are stronger together. An opportunity to showcase #AHPsintoAction.

Why get involved?

Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? It’s an excuse for a party and a chance to come together and showcase the work that we do. I could go on but do you need any more reasons?!

Who’s it for?

All of the AHPs - that’s Art Therapists, Drama Therapists, Music Therapists, Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Operating Department Practitioners, Orthopists, Osteopaths, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists, Radiographers, and last but by no means least Speech and Language Therapists. It’s also for anyone else who wants to celebrate the great work that AHPs do and those who want learn more about our wonderful professions.

As AHPs Day is a social movement whoever wants to get involved can. There’s no obligation or pressure to be involved or any specific geographical region that you have to be in – we have no borders. If you like showing your appreciation or are an AHP who likes finding the #JoyInWork then it’s for you!

How did it come about?

A dietitian (me) and a speech and language therapist (Carrie) shared a bus home after a long and challenging day at work, and reflected on the AHPs into Action campaign, and the ideas started sparking from there. I tweeted our CAPHO Suzanne Rastrick to find out if we could have an AHP appreciation day. That evening Suzanne retweeted my tweet and Twitter went crazy! As a rookie to Twitter I’d not been involved in anything like this before… The energy and enthusiasm was amazing and I started to really feel the passion and power of AHPs working together.

Carrie (my Twitter guru) drove the virtual bus on Twitter picking up people from around the country and in less than 24 hours we had buy-in from all of the 14 professions. There was so much support for the idea that we took it to @weAHPs who held a poll to find a date. In no time at all AHPsDay was born; 15th October 2018. We created a logo (please feel free to use!), got the iconic Land’s End Signpost #AHPsDay ready and linked in with the CAHPO team for support.

What can we do to join in?

Whatever you’d like to do! In Cornwall we are starting the day with an AHP focussed Innovation Breakfast Club in our acute hospital, with everyone across sectors welcome. We have invited our executive and senior leaders to take the opportunity to get to know such an amazing part of their workforce by shadowing an AHP for an hour with the aim of raising the awareness and profile of our professions within our organisations. We are also encouraging individual AHPs to shadow another AHP for an hour to get to know more about their role. Similar shadowing has been shown to improve patient pathways.

At the start of August we will launch our appreciation and recognition nominations. They are a chance for people to nominate and recognise the excellent work of AHPs. 70 AHPs from across the 14 professions will be selected for extra recognition on AHPs Day and awarded a pin badge. We will visit as many as we can on the day in our vintage bus; yes as the idea started on a bus we are having a bus to go around our beautiful Cornwall for the day!

If you follow #AHPsDay on Twitter you’ll be able to see lots of the ideas that people are sharing. Here are a few ideas that have been shared with us:

  • The team in Bath are having a Twitter challenge (with training for those less au fait), raising awareness about their #TherapyMatters campaign with lots of patient voices and making a film talking about the value of AHPs.
  • In Blackpool the focus is on AHP system leadership awareness. They’ll be encouraging AHPs to tell the story of what AHPs do, how they feel they impact patient care, share a change they will be making over the next year, what led them to become an AHP and why they love their job.

You can follow our progress on Twitter @cornwall_ahps, @RachBrandreth and @carrie_biddle and on the wecommunities.org website. We’d like to encourage you to blog there too to share what you’re planning.

Let’s do this! #AHPsDay #AHPsintoAction

The BDA will also be supporting AHPs day on the 15th on social media, sharing case studies of excellent MDT working and highlighting the impact and importance of AHPs across the NHS, public health and the private sector. If you have any suggestions, please get in touch!

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