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Celebrating National AHP Awareness Day

14th October 2020

Whether it be helping a child with their speech or aiding an elderly person in their recovering after a fall, the Southern Trust is celebrating our Allied Health Professionals today and the difference they make to patient care.

Today (Wednesday 14th October) is the third annual Allied Health Professions (AHPs) Day across the country.

Allied Health Professionals (AHP’s) play a key role in primary and secondary prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. They often see patients throughout their complete treatment journey and are uniquely placed with a diverse and impressive skill set. That is why, here in the Southern Trust, we want to celebrate each and every one of our AHP’s for their unique contribution to patient care!

Within the Southern Trust we directly employ 7 professions – Dietitians, Physiotherapists, Orthoptists, Radiographers, Podiatrists, Occupational Therapists and Speech & Language Therapists – from the AHP workforce as well as contracting services from a number of the other professions, Art, Music Drama Therapy, prosthetists and Orthotists. The Paramedics, employed directly by the NIAS Trust, are also part of the AHP family and are intricately involved in our many Trust care pathways to support effective patient flow. Our AHPs work across a range of our services, whether that is Mental Health and Learning Disability, Older People and Primary Care, Occupational Health, Acute or Children and Young People.

Carmel Harney, Assistant Director, AHP Governance, Workforce Development and Training said: “Interventions from AHPs enable patients to recover movement and mobility, overcome visual problems, improve nutritional status, develop communication, eating, drinking, swallowing and everyday living skills.  All of these interventions often allow patients to remain in their own home or place of residence avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions, or earlier discharge from hospital, and so decreasing the need for placement in formal care settings or packages of care, supporting maximum independence and a return to work, leisure, community integration, to sustain and enjoy a better quality of life.

“We have had to embrace new ways of working utilising technological solutions very successfully evidenced through very positive patient/client feedback, while continuing within a personalised care pathway and our absolute commitment to our patients throughout the past seven months. All of our AHP’s have worked tirelessly as the need for assessment, rehabilitation and review across all our population groups as increased, whether that be people recovering from COVID-19, people whose health and function are now at risk due to pauses in our planned care, people who avoided accessing health services during the pandemic and are now at greater risk of ill-health because of delayed diagnosis and treatment, or people dealing with the physical and mental health effects of lockdown. SHSCT AHPs have been involved in developing post Covid-19 recovery resources that are available on the on the NI Direct website ‘Information to help recovery after COVID-19’.

“I am extremely proud of our team, who make up one third of the workforce here in the Southern Trust who are so truly dedicated and fully committed to providing high quality and safe services during these very challenging times in the Health and Social care system.  A workforce to be greatly celebrated.”