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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
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A Closer Look . . .

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Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) is a group of 12 different professions which form the third largest group of healthcare staff.  At Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust (WHCT) we employ staff from six of those disciplines; dietetics, occupational therapy, paramedic, physiotherapy, podiatry and speech and language therapy. 

They work both closely with other healthcare colleagues and autonomously across a range of services supporting children through to older people, across mental and physical health. As well as providing therapeutic help and clinical advice they can help to educate carers and families to enable people to remain at home and live more independently. They have a key role in the wider aim to provide more care and treatment at home, which is what patients consistently tell us they would prefer, and which is a key part of our local health and care strategy for the next few years.

Our occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists work in schools and other communities venues; dieticians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists work across mental health services; we have employed an experience paramedic to deliver vital training around life support; and our podiatrists provide services wherever they are needed whether a person is able to come to clinic, need a visit to their home or are in hospital. We have recognised the need for seven day access to therapy and are implementing this in areas like hospital wards and in some of our community based teams. 

As well as supporting patients and carers, our AHPs also have a role in keeping our NHS staff healthy and well at work. 

Last week NHS England launched the national ‘AHPs into Action’ strategy which provides a framework for local services to think about how best to use the skills of the AHP workforce.  ‘AHPs into Action’ will help us to look at things differently alongside STPs (sustainability and transformation plans) so we can explore how to share unique skills across traditional organisational boundaries to improve access to our services for those who need it when they need it.

Meet some of our AHP's

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Name:  Miriam de Almeida Santos

Job Title: Patient Handling Lead

How do you make a difference to your patients:  I support all AHPs across the Trust, providing training in the skills that are needed to deliver care to immobile patients.  I also provide advice and support to staff in the assessment and selection of equipment and assist in more complex situations offering advice and support to staff.  By giving staff the knowledge and clinical support, it provides patients with better care allowing them to be discharged home safer or continuing to support them in the community.    

How do you benefit from being part of the Trust’s AHPs:  AHPs add significantly to the quality of care that a patient receives. Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust have excellent AHP representation and support.  Being part of this large professional group affords me the opportunity to network so that our roles can continue to be strengthened and recognised in the patient’s journey.   

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Name: Phil Bell

Job Title: Senior Resuscitation Officer

Responsible for managing the Physical Health and Resuscitation Team. Currently the only Paramedic working in the Trust

How do you make a difference to your patients?

I have many responsibilities within my role but primarily I manage a small team that delivers training in Clinical Skills and Medical Emergency Response so that staff have the skills they need to deliver patient care.

Our team researches best evidence based practice, designs & delivers innovative training that equips healthcare workers to give excellent patient centred care.

I am really proud to have introduced the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) to the Trust. This allows us to recognise deterioration in our patients health at a very early stage allowing clinicians to escalate patient care and prevent Cardiac Arrest. It also means that there is continuity of patient assessments between all healthcare providers. 

How do you benefit from being part of the Trust’s AHPs?

Working within the Trust has really broadened my horizons. The Trust covers a large area and delivers care in so many different areas. Every day I see examples of AHPs giving excellent care and this has made me realise that although we have different professions and jobs titles, we all have the same goal and that is to provide a service that we can be proud of. 
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Name: Rachel Gibbons

Job Title: Team Lead Podiatrist – Wyre Forest Locality & Musculoskeletal Specialist Podiatrist

How do you make a difference to your patients?

A podiatrist is a healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats people with problems of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. Lots of people think being a podiatrist must be a bit gross – but I absolutely love my job, and the difference I make to my patients, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

I support lots of different patients in my role, from younger people with musculoskeletal problems to patients with long term complex conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, with our aim to prevent amputation and deterioration of foot health to the point where it affects people’s quality of life. As a Podiatrist we have higher skill and knowledge within these conditions, because we know how to treat the patient, we know how to get a good quality outcome for the patient, and we leave the patient feeling empowered to take care of themselves with advice which is really rewarding. 

How do you benefit from being part of the Trust’s AHPs?

Being part of the Trusts AHP’s allows the wide range of skills that we have collectively to come together, and be better placed to lead and support change and provide care to our patients. We are able to talk freely to one another and we all feel really passionately about what we do, we all enjoy our jobs, and we all want to make things better for patients. The support we can offer each other is priceless.