Backroom health professionals are to see their worth recognised in a new training and development initiative for allied health professions.It’s part of what the Government calls a comprehensive strategy for improving the status, training, pay and career opportunities for 50,000 NHS and social services staff including physiotherapists,paramedics and radiographers.
Seen as central to the modernisation programme for the NHS, and often the first point of contact for patients, they help to increase the number of patients being treated, reduce waiting times for treatment and improve access to care.
However it’s admitted that their role has often been undervalued or neglected, compared with doctors and nurses.
The new strategy – Meeting the Challenge: A Strategy for the Allied Health Professions is supported by six million pounds of new money for education and leadership development initiatives.
Its aim is to ensure that there are plenty of candidates to fill these front line jobs, that the range of front line services they deliver is extended, and that professionals already undertaking such jobs are fit for leadership in their organisations.
There will be a new post of therapist consultant. The first generation – a minimum of 400 – will start work by 2004.
A million pounds is to be devoted to a return to practice initiatives for the allied health professions, and the NHS interactive multi-media careers service will be extended to cover the allied health professions by the end of the year.
The NHS Plan requires more therapists and other allied health professionals
Meeting the Challenge is available on the Department of Health website at www.doh.gov.uk/meetingthechallenge.