West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas highlights the vital role of Allied Health Professionals

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has hosted a meeting of therapists and other health professionals in Westminster in a bid to highlight their value to the NHS.

Representatives from the Allied Health Professionals Federation (AHPF), which includes podiatrists, dietitians, music therapists, physiotherapists, diagnostic radiographers, therapeutic radiographers and speech and language therapists, discussed how their skills can best be integrated into a changing healthcare system.

“These professionals provide an incredibly valuable contribution to the NHS in preventing conditions from deteriorating and educating patients to prevent future illnesses,” said Mr Thomas.

“During the meeting the AHPF highlighted the need for managers charged with integrating services to take into account the role of their members and to consult them over their ideas for how healthcare can be better integrated.”

At a local level, Mr Thomas has asked Cornwall’s health managers what they are doing to ensure that these professionals are included in discussions about their roles in the future of healthcare, writing to the chief officers of both the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) and the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (KCCG).

Jackie Pendleton, interim chief officer at the KCCG, has told Mr Thomas that there isn’t currently an AHPF representative on the KCCG board but that she is happy for this to change.

RCHT’s chief executive, Kathy Byrne, said that there was already AHP representation at RCHT and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust Cabinet level but that in addition the Trust was appointing a Therapy Lead to provide direct input into discussions about integrating services.

If you would like to find out more on the work of Allied Health Professionals visit http://www.ahpf.org.uk/