Voicepiece March 2013 – Karen Middleton

This is the last Department of Health AHP Bulletin* as the Chief Health Professions Officer post moves to the NHS Commissioning Board from 1 April. I feel privileged to have been successful in my application for this new post and look forward to working to deliver improved outcomes for patients with my commissioning colleagues.

Whilst I can provide some continuity from the old to the new – as will Shelagh Morris, my new deputy – the new role will be different.  While I will still be providing system-wide clinical and professional leadership and advice to the allied health professions, Shelagh and I will be focused more on supporting the delivery of the Outcomes Framework across the five domains through engaging with commissioners, both local and national, to show where AHPs can improve care and add greatest value.

I see this shift as analogous to the journey that AHPs have been on over the last few years where the focus has been on raising the profile of this group of diverse professions as a collective, in order to maximise their influence and contribution to services.

This work has had four main themes:

  • leadership development:  (the Leadership Challenges, the Darzi Fellows, the Clinical Leadership Fellows and all those AHPs now in leadership roles)
  • data: (from 1 April the first RTT data flows for all AHP services start, the National AHP Informatics Strategic Taskforce will continue into the Health and Social Care Information Centre and we have a significant rise in the AHP services registered with Choose and Book)
  • access: (the Service Improvement Programme, the QIPP AHP Toolkits and Independent Prescribing for Podiatrists and Physiotherapists)
  • a flexible workforce (AHP Competence-based Career Framework and the Clinical Academic Career Pathway)

These are just some of the achievements of the last five years and there are very many more local ones – not least, all the regional and local AHP conferences where AHPs share best practice and innovation and really come together as a group.

However, I have always been clear that increased visibility was not the end point, it is simply a vehicle to help maximise the contribution these fantastic professions can make to better quality of care and improved outcomes for our patients.

So now, as I focus on supporting commissioners to deliver against the Outcomes Framework and get down to some really detailed work and specific deliverables, every single AHP must to do the same – work with their local commissioners, be clear about your service offer and how it will improve quality, meet local need, and reduce demand and costs. You must provide them with your clinical and professional advice to ensure commissioning decisions are informed. Being more visible is one thing, – now we need to deliver!

As we lose the links via the SHA AHP Leads, who have played such an important role over the last five years, it is important we all find ways of staying connected. This will take more work on all of our parts. The following people have volunteered to ‘hold’ the networks in each of the four regions until something more sustainable can be developed:

  • North – Sue Louth on sue.louth@srft.nhs.uk or Bryony Simpson on bryony.simpson@nhs.net
  • South – Beverley Harden. Email: Beverley.harden@hhft.nhs.uk
  • Midlands and the East – Helen Marriott. Email: h.marriott@nhs.net
  • London – please contact your AHP Fora Chair:
    • Nita Madhani (Redbridge Community)
    • Patricia Hill (Kings College Hospital)
    • Sarah Vernon (Croydon Health)
    • Susanne Selvaduria (Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital)
    • Csaba Barody (Homerton University Hospital)

There are also the other networks:

And, of course, the many different professional networks and informal connections you have all made. I do feel that connectivity will be absolutely vital as we endeavour to share best practice and innovation.

Lastly, I want to share with you something that was said at my interview – ‘It is crucial that every part of commissioning is infected with AHPness’.

I think this says it all!

The contribution our services can make is recognised, we now need to ensure we influence commissioners to commission them in order to deliver the outcomes patients and their families want to see!

*This is the last edition of AHP Bulletin published by the Department of Health. As a recipient of AHP Bulletin, your email address will be transferred to the NHS Commissioning Board, unless you request otherwise. For more information about the NHS Commissioning Board’s planned publications, please contact seth.edwards@london.nhs.uk You can also visit www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk

If you do not want your email address shared with the NHS Commissioning Board, please email ahp-branch@dh.gsi.gov.uk no later than Thursday 28 March 2013.

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One Response to Voicepiece March 2013 – Karen Middleton

  1. Kate Taylor says:

    I like the quote from the interview Karen. As one of the minority AHP commissioners, I would like to see more AHP’s moving into commissioning. This ensures the conversations and actions have added value from our unique knowledge and skills. Commissioning groups need to have strategic direction that has as much depth and insight as possible, I feel this can only be achieved with us AHP’s in these teams. I hope the ‘infection’ becomes highly contagious! And AHP’s take up more senior roles in Provider organisations, Commissioning groups and the SCN’s.
    I no longer have hands on clinical duties, but through commissioning decisions I will make impact on the lives of far more children and their families.

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