Physios across the UK teamed up with their colleagues to celebrate National AHP Day on 15 October.
A range of events took place to recognise the contribution of allied health professionals and raise awareness about their varied roles, while a social media campaign also celebrated their skills and achievements.
Suzanne Rastrick, the chief allied health professions officer for England, gave the day official backing, after the idea was suggested by two AHPs from Cornwall, speech and language therapist Carrie Biddle and dietitian Rachael Brandreth.
Their colleague Jane Mitchell, professional lead for physiotherapy at Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust/ Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, told Frontline: ‘We had a fantastic day. Suzanne Rastrick came to Cornwall and spent the day with us. She attended a breakfast innovation club, where she heard about different AHP roles and one of the physios gave a presentation about a first contact physiotherapy pilot we’ve been running in east Cornwall.
‘There were also poster presentations about research that has been going on locally, and several physios presented - which was great.’
After the innovation breakfast, Ms Rastrick visited West Cornwall, where she presented a group of AHPs with recognition awards for different areas of good practice.
‘The great thing about that was that recipients were overwhelmed, simply to be recognised and because someone was saying “thank you”,’ said Ms Mitchell.
Later in the day, Ms Rastrick visited orthopaedic wards and a neuro-unit at St. Michael’s hospital in Hayle, and attended a sing and sign group, which aims to improve communication for adults with learning disabilities.
‘There was also a lot going on nationally,’ said Ms Mitchell.
‘There was a flash mob at a hospital in Leeds, there were cake baking competitions, an AHP photograph competition – where people were challenged to make an “AHP” sign out of different things – and lots of videos were posted on social media about the roles of the AHP professions.
‘Overall, it was a big success and a very productive day. It grabbed people’s imagination and lots of people got behind it – included many executive level staff at hospitals and trusts.
‘It raised the profile of AHPs across the country and helped to show what AHPs can offer and how we can help with the current crisis within health.’
She added that plans were already been made to hold another AHP day next year.
Explaining the wide scope of AHPs
At Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, part of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, physiotherapists and other AHPs set up an information stall in the main reception area.
Hannah Bassett, a senior paediatric physiotherapist who specialises in Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) and Barth Syndrome, told Frontline: ‘We gave patients leaflets and stickers from the CSP, and showed them poster presentations about different clinics.
‘We also tried to highlight all the areas within our specialities, because lots of people don’t know we cover so many different things.
‘Many didn’t even know what AHP stood for, so we explained what it meant and gave them information about the 14 professions that come under that umbrella. Most knew about physiotherapy, but they didn’t realise we covered so many areas.’
Among those who visited the stall was James, a young patient with cerebral palsy who receives regular botulinum toxin treatment at the hospital, and his mother.
‘James came over with his mum to have a chat to us about ‘National AHP day’ and he had a lovely time chatting to our OI puppet Jasmine,’ Ms Bassett explained.
‘He had just been treated by our botulinum toxin physiotherapy-led service. He loved the little puppet we had and was having a chat to her about physio and OT.’
AHPs at the hospital also took part in videoed mannequin challenge, available to view on Facebook.
‘It shows all the physios and OTs demonstrating various therapy positions, in the gym and in the hydrotherapy pool, just to show different aspects of what we do,’ said Ms Bassett.
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