Come together for AHPs Day

Jane Mitchell describes how an idea born on a bus is set to bring 14 professions closer together.

AHPs Day on 15 October is a social movement set up with the aim of allowing us to come together and focus on our brilliant professions. You may already know that our 14 professions make up the third largest workforce in the NHS, but can you name them all and describe their roles? 

AHPs Day is a chance to recognise the contribution of fellow allied health professionals, to get to know them and to celebrate skills and achievements with them. 

But AHPs Day can be whatever you want it to be. Twitter chats so far have shown that people are interested in getting to know each other better, recognising that in showcasing AHPs’ work we are stronger together.

The idea for AHPs Day began when two colleagues from Cornwall, Rachael Brandreth, a dietitian, and Carrie Biddle, a speech and language therapist, shared a bus ride after a long day at work. They began to reflect, thinking about ‘AHPs into action’. 

Rachael tweeted Suzanne Rastrick, the chief allied health professions officer for England, to find out whether we had an AHP appreciation day and, if not, whether we could we establish one. That evening Suzanne retweeted the idea – and Twitter went crazy. 

Carrie drove a virtual campaign bus on Twitter picking up people and support from around the country. Within 24 hours, all 14 professions had committed. In the end there was so much support that @weAHPs held a poll to decide a date – and 15 October will be the first AHPs Day. 

So what can you do to join in? Whatever you like! In Cornwall we are starting the day with an AHP-focused ‘innovation breakfast club’ in our acute hospital. Executives and senior leaders have been invited to get to know an AHP by shadowing them for an hour – the aim is to raise awareness and the profile of our professions. 

We are also encouraging individual practitioners to shadow another AHP for an hour to get to know more about their role. Similar shadowing has been shown to improve patient pathways.

If you follow #AHPsDay on Twitter you’ll be able to see lots of the ideas that people are sharing. The team in Bath are having a Twitter challenge, raising awareness about the local Therapies Matter campaign, raising money for therapy services, including new premises.

In Blackpool, the focus is on AHP systems leadership awareness. AHPs will be encouraged to tell the story of what they do, how they feel they impact on patient care, share a change they plan to make over the next year, what led them to become an AHP and why they love their job. 

  • Jane Mitchell is professional lead for physiotherapy, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust/ Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

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