AHPs must be recognised as an integral part of the public health workforce, with responsibility for designing and delivering improvements to healthcare and reducing health inequalities, according to a joint strategy document published today.
Public Health England highlights falls as a key area in which AHPS can improve public health
The Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Federation and Public Health England strategy wants to empower AHPs to influence the development of the services they work in.
It sets out five goals and describes how these will be achieved. The goals are:
- The future AHP workforce will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and attributes to promote the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and populations.
- AHPs will be able to demonstrate their impact on population-level outcomes through robust evaluation and research methods.
- AHPs will be a go-to public health provider of choice.
- The excellent relationships that exist between AHPs and strategic public health leaders at local, regional, national and international levels will be fully utilised.
- Effective leadership at every level will support AHPs to be an integral part of the public health workforce.
The two organisations give a commitment to provide strategic leadership to oversee the strategy. The CSP and the 11 other AHP professional bodies will develop implementation plans to ensure the strategy succeeds.
In a separate document, Public Health England gives examples of interventions by AHPs that improve public health.
It says there are three million reported falls in the UK each year. Physiotherapy-led group exercise programmes have been shown to reduce falls by 29 per cent and the risks of falling by 15 per cent.
Community-based falls prevention programmes which target older adults, particularly women, can be highly cost effective, it says.
It also outlines the benefits of advice about exercise and lifestyle from physiotherapists for people with urinary incontinence. More than 20 per cent of people aged 40 years and over are affected by this condition, according to the report.
But AHPs face a challenge, according to Public Health England. This is because of insufficient evidence about the public health benefits of AHP interventions.
‘There is an urgent need to develop tools to support the demonstration of population impact of healthcare professional interventions,’ the agency says.
It calls on AHPs to collect and aggregate data locally to show how they contribute, not just to improving the health of individuals, but to better health outcomes across a wider population.
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