New public health strategy urges AHPs to raise their profile

Over the next five years, physiotherapists and other AHPs (Allied Health Professionals) need to develop their skills, demonstrate their impact and raise their profile as public health experts.

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This is according to the UK AHP Public Health Strategy 2019-2024, published on 8 May by the AHP Federation.

Fifteen AHP professional bodies, including the CSP, contributed to the strategy, along with organisations from all four countries of the UK.

The strategic framework describes a vision for the future of AHPs and sets out five goals that AHPs and their professional bodies could help to achieve by 2024.

The five goals aim to:

  • Increase the profile of AHPs as valuable public health experts
  • Demonstrate the contribution of AHPs to improved population level health outcomes, using robust evaluation and research.
  • Develop the AHP workforce – so they have the necessary skills to promote, improve and protect public health and wellbeing
  • Build strategic connections between AHPs and system leaders at local and national levels.
  • Use the expertise of AHPs to improve the health and wellbeing of the health and care workforce

CSP contributes to success of the strategy

The new framework takes into account the findings of a report into the impact of the 2015-18 strategy, published last week by Public Health England and the AHP Federation.

The impact report shows that significant progress has been made, since 2015, to ensure that AHPs are recognised as an integral part of the public health workforce.

In addition, it highlights the work that the CSP and other AHP professional bodies undertook to support the goals of the previous strategy.

The report said ‘significant contributions’ to the strategy had included:

  • The success of CSP’s Love Activity Hate Exercise campaign, which has used insights from patients and CSP members to help identify barriers that prevent people from being more active - and suggested ways to make exercise more accessible to a wider range of people.
  • CSP’s ‘Never Too Late’ film, which received over 450,000 views during the run up to Christmas 2018, and appeared in social media feeds more than a million times.
  • The CSP’s work to increase patient access to rehabilitation and improve health and wellbeing across whole populations (in collaboration with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, NHS RightCare and more widely).
  • The development of the CSP’s falls economic modelling tool, which Public Health England included in its menu of preventative interventions.
  • CSP’s involvement in the National Falls Prevention Coordination Group, which contributed to the development of the national falls consensus statement.

A UK-wide plan

The new framework offers a UK-wide plan and builds on the aims of the previously published 2015-2018 strategy, which applied to only England and Wales.

The AHP Federation collaborated with Public Health England, HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, the Scottish and Welsh Government and the Welsh Therapies Advisory Committee to produce the strategy.

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by Robert Millett

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