There are over 64,000 allied health professionals (AHPs) in the NHS from a range of different disciplines. AHPs play vital roles within a range of care teams, in hospitals and the community: often working with older people with more complex conditions. They are increasingly expanding their skills to include prescribing and consultant practitioner status, with patients able to self-refer.
QualityWatch, an independent scruitineer of quality in health and social care, has stated that, “despite the size and importance of the AHP workforce, AHPs are rarely the subject of major policy debates and there is a concern that their contribution to care is often hidden, overlooked or potentially undervalued.” In their report Focus on: Allied Health professionals. Can we measure quality of care?, the authors say this is primarily because of a lack of consistent data nationally on the work undertaken by AHPs.
The report highlights the need to have systems in place that can capture information on all aspects of the quality of AHP care in all settings. The authors also identify the need for continued development of AHP research. The OKIS team are pleased to be helping progress this agenda for physiotherapists, prosthetists and orthotists involved with prescribing and fitting orthotic devices for knee instability. By identifying current pathways of care and finding/understanding where and why variation exists it should be possible to ensure the best use is made of AHP skills for the benefit of patients.