Voicepiece October 2012 – Karen Middleton

I have recently returned from speaking at three conferences inAustralia: AHLANZ (Allied Health Leaders of Australia & New Zealand), SARRAH (Services in Australia of Rural & Remote Allied Health) and ICHPO (International Chief Health Professions Officers). I am very grateful to my colleagues in AHLANZ for enabling my visit.

While away, I learned three things: firstly, whatever the economic situation of the country, meeting greater demand for healthcare means innovating radically. Secondly, that in terms of innovation, we have so much to learn from colleagues who work in rural and remote parts of our countries who simply have to be innovative. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, that while AHPs might have the solutions they will never see the light of day without a different set of behaviours. The AHPs in SARRAH and AHLANZ are good examples of what can result from a change in behaviour.

These two organisations are now extremely influential in healthcare in Australia and they are in this position because a small group of leaders in allied health had had enough and came together to do something different. They invested their own time and money and they worked to influence in a different way. They succeeded. They talked about solutions and provided evidence of how they could deliver; they worked outside professional and organisational boundaries; they had a common purpose, they developed trust between themselves and had excellent systems of communication; they were passionate about their cause and described allied health in terms of health – not illness.

My conclusion is that a small group of people really can change the world!

A small group of AHPs inEnglandis certainly coming together via Twitter – thanks for all the great conversations, thoughts and ideas – now let’s turn them into action! Keep tweeting!

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