Three allied health professionals (AHPs) from Kingston Hospital and Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust (HRCH) met Minister of Health and Secondary Care, William Quince, at the beginning of September to discuss raising the profile of AHPs to support the recruitment and retention of staff.
Home enteral feeding dietitian, Kinga Dojnikowska, and Tannah Stavrou, a specialist speech and language therapist (both from HRCH), and Principal Speech and Language Therapist for Kingston Hospital, Sarah Thompson, took part in two roundtables with other allied health professionals from across London.
Their discussions included the training and on-going education of the AHP workforce, validating the work of AHPs by expanding the traditional medically led model of care to a more holistic model and including London weighting in salaries for outer London.
Mr Quince agreed that to address some of these issues, allied health professionals, as the third largest healthcare profession, should be namechecked in the media and across the Department of Health and Social Care alongside doctors and nurses as a matter of course.
Chief AHP for HRCH and Kingston Hospital, Caroline Hopper, said: “Historically, allied health roles have been undervalued and out of the spotlight so being able to represent both acute and community healthcare settings meant we could make an important contribution to the discussions. I am thrilled to hear the minister was so supportive of our ideas.”
The team were joined by Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer at NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Beverley Harden, Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.