NHS must make better use of AHPs, says Lord Carter

NHS trusts need to make better use of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs).


The report says there is a need to identify 'what good looks like'

This is according to an independent report by Lord Carter commissioned by the Department of Health and published on 5 February.

Lord Carter’s review of productivity and performance in hospitals highlights ‘unwarranted variations’ in the way trusts make use of AHPS.

It says AHPs make a significant contribution to admission and discharge processes, but in some trusts their benefits are ‘often not fully realised’.

What good looks like

In addition, the report says there is a need to identify ‘what good looks like’ so that trusts can adopt a more consistent approach to the management and deployment of AHPs and improve recognition of the diversity of AHP roles and professions.

To combat this and other challenges, the report sets out a series of recommendations that aim to save the NHS £5 billion a year by 2020.

These include

  • improving the understanding of how the AHP workforce is configured in each trust
  • developing and implementing measures for analysing staff deployment, including metrics such as ‘care hours per patient day’
  • providing NHS trusts with strategies to ensure patient care is focused equally on recovery and how patients can leave hospital

Staff shortages

Meanwhile another report published this month by the National Audit Office says there are shortcomings in how the supply of NHS clinical staff in England is managed, in planning the future workforce and meeting the current demand for staff.

It recommends that the Department of Health, Health Education England and NHS Improvement should provide greater national leadership to help trusts address staffing shortfalls.

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