Active and Independent

Active and Independent

The role that Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) play in keeping people active and able to live independently came under the microscope at a recent event in Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Around 100 staff heard Tracy MacInnes, Associate Chief Health Professions Officer from the Scottish Government, spell out the vision for the future. This included several new initiatives such as vocational rehabilitation (designed to get people back to work), the Eat Well programme (which focuses on healthy eating) and Making Every Communication Count (to create opportunities to deliver health messages when seeing patients).

Ms MacInnes touched on current successes such as the musculoskeletal (MSK) programme where, in the past, waiting times for treatment could be more than 20 weeks. Now, thanks to service redesign, 56% of patients are seen in less than four weeks, and 80% within 12 weeks.

Fiona Downie and Wendy Monteith also described their roles as Advanced Practice MSK Physiotherapists in the community. As Extended Scope Practitioners (ESPs) they provide a full streamlined service from assessing patients to providing physiotherapy, imaging and orthopaedic referral and undertaking steroid injections. In the two GP Practices where this service is currently implemented, GPs have seen a significant reduction in appointments for musculoskeletal issues (e.g. sore shoulders, backs) and have been able to extend their appointment times from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

A number of benchmarks have been set for the future including AHP services being easily accessible, partnership working, delivering excellence through research and innovation and making sure that all stakeholders are aware of the services which AHPs can offer. These are podiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, dietetics, orthotics, orthoptics, arts therapies and radiography.

Pictured: (left to right), Bette Locke, AHP Strategy Lead/Service Manager: Claire Withnell, Senior Speech and Language Therapist; Tracey MacInnes, Scottish Government and Natalie McLurg, Team Manager – Hospital Discharge Team/Intermediate Care, Stirling Council.

Summer 2017 News