NHS England’s AHP data lead could be a physiotherapist

NHS England is to appoint a physiotherapist or other allied health professional (AHP) to help transform clinical care through informatics.


Steve Tolan: 'This is an exciting opportunity to increase AHP visibility in nationally collected datasets.'

The organisation will create a new temporary role of AHP data improvement lead. It intends to fill the post with an individual who has expert knowledge of NHS data and how it can be used to improve services.

Despite the limited duration of the job – it was advertised earlier this month and is due to end on 31 March 2016 – NHS England wants the postholder to make significant achievements in a short time.

Among them is the initial development of a national AHP dataset, which will be used to measure outcomes for AHP services, from referral to treatment.

Striking a balance

The data lead will work closely with Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England’s chief allied health professions officer.

She said that despite that vital role that AHPs play in the health service, data about the quality of care they provide is not regularly collected.

‘The key challenge for commissioners is to strike a balance between the best outcomes for patients and the cost of services,’ she told Frontline.

‘There is a need to demonstrate how data can be used to compare the clinical and cost efficiency of different service models.’

Steve Tolan, the CSP’s head of practice, said health service data and informatics are an all too often undervalued component of evidence-based practice.

‘This is an exciting opportunity to increase AHP visibility in nationally collected datasets and better contextualise the real picture in therapy provision,’ he said.

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