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Northamptonshire celebrates the skills and contribution of Allied Health Professionals

AHPs Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) make up the third largest healthcare workforce in the UK and their skills are crucial to the day-to-day delivery of effective health and social care services - yet often their contribution often fails to get the same level of recognition as the doctors and nurses they work alongside.
 
Allied Health Professions Day is an annual celebration and awareness event that shines a spotlight on the fourteen professions included under the AHP banner, and the valuable contribution AHPs make to the NHS and the wider health and wellbeing of patients and the public.
 
This year, Allied Health Professions Day falls on Wednesday 14 October but AHPs across Northamptonshire have decided to go bigger and better in 2020 with a whole week of celebration through online events and awareness-raising initiatives - from Monday 12 through to Friday 16 October.
 
The five-day timetable of activity includes online talks, presentations and discussion forums covering Continuing Professional Development, online tools and training for AHPs, working in ICU and Covid rehabilitation, frailty and AHP leadership.
 
Northamptonshire’s Allied Health Professions Week starts at 9am on Monday 12 October with an opening online address from Angela Hillery, Chief Executive at Northampton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who has a professional background in speech and language therapy.
 
At 11am on Wednesday 14 October Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer at NHS England, will provide an online keynote speech specifically for AHPs across Northamptonshire before they join AHPs across the country for the national AHP webinar at 12.30.
 
A ‘Listening into Action’ online event later on Wednesday will open up discussion between AHPs working at Kettering General Hospital and Northampton General Hospital about what they would like to be included in the first Nursing, Midwifery and AHP strategy which will be adopted across both Trusts in the coming year.
 
Simon Weldon, recently appointed as Group Chief Executive covering both hospitals Trusts, will conclude the week-long celebration with a closing address at 3pm on Friday 16 October.
 
Said Melanie Paragreen, Head of Therapies at Kettering General Hospital and Chair of the Northamptonshire AHP Council: “In organising these events we wanted to offer AHPs across the county some fantastic opportunities to come together online and raise the profile of their professions and individual contributions.”
 
“AHP practitioners play a crucial role in so many patient journeys. For example, someone badly injured in a road traffic accident might come into contact with five or possibly more AHPs as part of their treatment, care and recovery.
 
“A paramedic will be the first on the scene, a radiographer will take x-rays of their injuries, an operating department practitioner will prepare the specialist equipment and drugs needed for surgery, physiotherapists and occupational therapists will provide the rehabilitation they need to get moving and functioning again… with or without a medical supportive device designed and fabricated by our other AHP colleagues, prosthetists and orthotists!
 
“Each one of us plays a unique role that is either lifesaving or life giving by providing the best quality of life outcomes for the patient following their accident.”
 
Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer at NHS England, said: “I am delighted that Northamptonshire AHPs working across health and social care in the county have extended their activity across the whole week.  Their enthusiasm for their vocation is evident and I am pleased to be speaking to them directly as part of their programme of events.
 
“The ongoing pandemic continues to highlight the importance of the AHP role in providing care, treatment and rehabilitation to patients in intensive care, on wards and at home.  As more evidence emerges about the longer-term effects of Covid-19, I expect the role of AHPs will become increasingly recognised as they provide vital  support to help people recover quality of life and physical health.”
 
In addition to their programme of online events, the Northamptonshire AHP Council has worked with local NHS Trusts to produce an interactive e-newsletter for distribution through schools across the county.  This resource describes each of the fourteen AHP professions and links students to more information about vocational training and careers. For more information please visit www.england.nhs.uk/ahp/role.