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Growing capacity for AHP student practice based learning


On 12 April following a request from the Acting Chief Health Professions Officer at Scottish Government, the Allied Health Professions (AHP) academic heads Scotland Group, and the AHP Director Scotland Group (ADSG, our AHP Team hosted an event to consider how the AHP practice based learning capacity could increase to ensure that the future AHP workforce is grown to meet the need.

The required transformation of health and social care to meet the future demands of the population of Scotland, has led to increasing demand for allied health professionals across health and social care as well as the third sector. Graduate numbers of this group of 14 professions (Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language therapists, Podiatrists, Dietitians, Radiographers (Diagnostic and Therapeutic), Orthotists, Orthoptists, Paramedics, Prosthetists and Art Therapists) that make up the third biggest workforce in the NHS, have not increased, even although student demand for University places remains high. This is due, in the main, to restriction on placement capacity in Scotland. Additional initiatives, such as the new primary care contract and public health agenda are likely to generate a dramatic rise in for these professions. 

Engagement with the event was supported via the NES NMAHP Twitter account before and during the day. Overone hundred people attended - the majority in person at the venue as well as four locations in Highland, Grampian and Orkney joining by video conference. The audience included AHP professionals from health, social care, third sector, students and family carers.

The day started with the policy context (CHPO) and workforce opportunities (ADSG) as well as partnership working with the Universities. This was followed by sharing the learning from across the UK from the professional bodies for Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, and local evidence from Alzheimer Scotland and the NES AHP practice education programme.

Many rich conversations took place. Interactive voting took place on four planned statements - both before the event on Twitter #AHPPrBL - as well as during the day. The afternoon workshops continued these discussions to generate short term priority actions for practice based learning in Scotland. The day concluded with everyone asked to complete pledge cards.

The next stages are to feedback the key messages and prioritised actions to all partners. A plan for a way ahead will be developed in collaboration with all involved.


Further information and presentations at the following link: