About this work
Last year Health Education England (HEE) tasked all allied health professional (AHP) bodies to deliver a wide-ranging programme of work to support a 21st century workforce over the next year.
Read more about the HEE Workforce Reform requirements (PDF).
With a small team in place, the RCSLT established twelve projects of varying size and complexity to deliver this programme which came to a formal close at the end of March 2023. Please note that although England-funded, the aim was to make the work as UK-wide as possible.
The RCSLT was granted an extension to the end of June 2023 on some areas of work, to finalise outputs and ensure future plans are in place where appropriate.
Projects cover the following areas:
- Advanced practice
- Children and young people’s workforce in education
- Clinical academic job descriptions
- Community paediatric dysphagia workforce
- International recruitment
- Mental health, learning disabilities and autism
- Placement expansion and recovery
- Primary care
- Professional development framework (formerly career and capabilities framework)
- Return to practice
- Support workers
Background and aim
The pre-pandemic NHS People Plan workforce planning illustrated a conservative estimate of 27,000 additional allied health professionals (AHPs) will be needed by 2024 to meet future AHP workforce demand.
AHPs are the third largest clinical workforce in the NHS, and one of the most cost-effective workforces to train. They graduate as regulated, clinically autonomous practitioners with a highly developed scope of practice.
The NHS Long Term Plan states that AHPs can ‘significantly support the demand profile the NHS faces’.
AHPs have a significant contribution to make to addressing contemporary service delivery challenges and priorities, including, for example, elective care recovery and post-COVID patient rehabilitation.
A lack of investment in AHP education, leadership, and delivery (faculties/academies/practice educators) is recognised as a significant barrier to change.
The core purpose of this funding opportunity, targeting specific professions is to enable professional bodies to lead a robust modernisation conversation and thereby support the development of the 21st century professional.
The aim was to: ‘work with HEE and colleagues across professional bodies and key stakeholders to define with members and the wider profession, employers and stakeholders what the 21st century knowledge, skills and attributes of AHPs need to be on graduation, through preceptorship and then later into advancing roles’.
Following an extension to finalise outputs and ensure future plans had been made, RCSLT completed each project within the workforce reform programme at the end of June 2023. The following video highlights the outcomes from each of those projects from the workforce reform programme. More information about each individual project can be found by following the links on the ‘about this work‘ tab.