University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is preparing to celebrate a highly skilled section of its staff with a special awareness day.
National AHPs Day on Monday, October 14, will shine the spotlight on Allied Health Professionals including Art Therapists, Drama Therapists, Music Therapists, Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs), Orthoptists, Osteopaths, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists, Radiographers and Speech and Language Therapists.
With 14 professions in total, AHPs make up the third largest workforce in the NHS. Their practice is integral to most clinical pathways and they work across health and local authority boundaries, providing solution-focused, goal-centred care to support patients’ independence.
Sue Clarke, Clinical Services Manager and AHP Lead for Community Care Group, UHMBT, said: “Here at UHMBT we directly employ Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs), Orthoptists, Physiotherapists, Radiographers and last, but by no means least, Speech and Language Therapists.
“We also work closely with our local Paramedics who are employed through the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Occupational Therapists who are employed by the local authorities and Orthotists who work with us through a Service Level Agreement.”
Jen Spragg, an AHP and Specialist Rheumatology Podiatrist for UHMBT based at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, said the Allied Health Professions offer great career opportunities for people of all ages.
Earlier in her career Jen worked as a nurse and 14 years ago she decided to retain and did a three-year Podiatry degree. Podiatry is a profession she loves and recommends to others.
Jen said: “I love my work because it is so interesting and varied. No two patients are ever the same and no two days are the same.
“Rheumatology covers more than 200 different diseases. It involves the study and treatment of inflammatory diseases. Many of those diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can affect your feet in lots of different ways.
“Some of the time you are working on preventative measures and reducing problems. People can develop foot deformity due to a particular illness. It’s also about accommodating people with orthotic footwear or doing wound care when the skin has broken down. It’s incredibly varied.
“We also do investigations and work with Rheumatologists. We look at our patients as a whole; we don’t just focus on one particular problem. We have a lot of autonomy.
“I see people with a very serious conditions and wounds; high risk patients who are at risk of losing a foot. Often, you’re the first person that a patient has a chance to really talk to about their problems. I see them regularly and get to know them. From this perspective, it’s a rewarding job.”
Allied Health Professionals such as Jen also influence and bring about new developments at UHMBT.
Sue added: “Within our community-based services there are many developments that are being led and designed by AHPs. For example, they work on Urgent Care Pathways with our rapid response teams across Morecambe Bay supporting admission avoidance.
“Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network (MBRN) includes Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists working to support the Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network in regards to admission avoidance and pulmonary rehabilitation.
The iMSK service includes Advanced Practice Physiotherapists providing a community-based clinical triage, assessment and treatment service for patients with musculoskeletal problems that would traditionally have been seen by hospital-based services.
“Community-based teams, including physios and OTs, also work closely with patients, families and local Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) to promote good health, maximise ability and proactively manage long-term health needs. Much of this work falls within the frailty pathway, working on falls prevention and promoting activity in order to promote independence and prevent admission to hospital.”
For more information on AHPs Day have a look on Twitter with the hashtag #AHPsDay or go to: https://www.ahpnw.nhs.uk/latest-news/372-ahps-day-14-october-2019
The Trust often advertises jobs for AHPs. Have a look on this link for jobs: