21 June 2022

There is much to welcome in the new Allied Health Professions (AHP) Strategy for England launched today (21 June 2022). From the foregrounding of anti-racism, equality and co-production, through the recognition of digital exclusion to the focus on environmental sustainability. We share these ambitions in our future vision for speech and language therapy.

We also welcome the announcement of a Health Inequalities Leadership Framework, and hope it will provide structure and guidance for AHP services in their delivery of care to tackle health inequalities.

However, aspiration, intent, and the hard work of the AHP community, will only take us so far. The NHS system needs to play its part, acting on the other documents launched today on Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and AHP leads as well as the repeated findings and recommendations on AHP inclusion and leadership, most recently highlighted in the Messenger review. We also need a much bigger focus on meeting the needs of children and young people to reduce health inequalities and improve outcomes.

Actions must include:

  • AHPs, including SLTs, present where decisions are made and resources allocated.
  • Proper workforce planning including non-NHS settings and senior specialist and leadership roles.
  • All relevant leadership roles being open to AHPs, including in health inequalities.
  • Full prescribing rights extended to all appropriate AHPs as soon as possible, with an immediate statement of intent.

With concrete measures such as these and with accountability, AHPs, including speech and language therapists, can support the delivery of this strategy.

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