Maximising the contribution of Allied Health Professionals within mental health, learning disability and autism settings

We want to better understand how AHPs work within mental health (MH), learning disabilities (LD), and autism settings. 


Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) are the third largest workforce in the NHS and The NHS Long Term Plan describes AHPs as playing a central role in the delivery of person-centred care to help meet the changing demands the NHS is facing.

We want to better understand how AHPs work within mental health (MH), learning disabilities (LD), and autism settings. By doing this, we will provide a practical toolkit outlining how AHPs can maximise their contribution to service lines across MH, LD, and autism. At the same time, we will be speaking with various key stakeholders and forming an observatory that will influence the ambition of the AHP mental health workforce development across England.


If you would like to find out more or get involved, then please email Atiya Fazalbhai or Hannah Poupart

25.5.22 - Allied Health Professionals in mental health and learning disability observatory

As our project is coming to an end, this was our last observatory for now.

The observatory helped us produced two infographics which provides a brief overview explaining how AHPs can be deployed into mental health and learning disability settings to lead health promotion, provide early intervention, deliver expert rehabilitation, tackle health inequalities and support recovery. The mental health infographic can be found here and the learning disability infographic will be released soon.

We have also completed our toolkit which has been able to outline how AHPs can contribute to service lines and other clinical roles across mental health, learning disability and autism settings which will be highly beneficial to commissioners so they can increase their investment in the AHP workforce. This will be released soon so please follow us for updates.

We wanted to say a big thank you to all those who have attended and participated in the observatory.

13.4.22 - Allied Health Professionals in mental health and learning disability observatory

We introduced the guide on practice-based learning (PBL) which highlights the benefits and opportunities of PBL through placements in mental health and learning disability settings. PBL in mental health and learning disability settings offer students the opportunity to build their confidence, to understand their profession more broadly and to develop an essential skill set they will take forward into whichever professional setting they work in. The guide can be found here.

We also had Ganesh Baliah who is the Strategic AHP Workforce Lead for SNEE ICS present and provide an update on diversity and inclusion outlining the national EDI objectives and the work which is being carried out to meet these ambitious objectives.

Lastly, we had an insightful panel Q&A with a few members from the AHP faculties across the regions which led to having some fruitful conservations around workforce development for AHPs in mental health, learning disability and autism.

16.2.22 - Allied Health Professionals in mental health and learning disability observatory

Our third observatory had a focus on diversity and advanced practice within mental health, learning disability, and Autism. We had great speakers attend and share some fantastic work that is taking place across regions.

Arnie Puntis and Simone Welch spoke about increasing diversity and inclusivity within the AHP profession.

Marie Lancett presented on advancing practice within learning disability and autism. And Dr Stephanie Tempest talked about advanced practice Mental Health credential/ curriculum and capabilities framework. There is now a community to cultivate a formal and informal space primarily for aspiring, trainee, and qualified Advanced Practitioners in Mental Health. You can find more about it here.

We provided the observatory an update on our toolkit which will aim to bring together an outline of all AHP roles and their contribution to Mental health, learning disability, and autism settings. The toolkit will highlight evidence to grow AHP potential in clinical settings and celebrate and showcase the role of AHPs within MH/LD to refresh and reframe perceptions of the professions.

Lastly, Hannah Popuart promoted HEE’s new central resource toolkit which has been developed to build on the mental health support workforce. The toolkit provides guidance on workforce planning, recruitment, induction, day-to-day management, learning and development, and career planning with useful case studies and examples of best practices.

1.12.21 - Allied Health Professionals in mental health and learning disability observatory

Following the success of our first virtual observatory, we held our second meeting on 1st December providing an update on the progress of our project deliverables chaired by Jane Melton (HEE). We had a productive discussion around developing our practical toolkit outlining how AHPs can contribute to service lines and other clinical roles across MH, LD, and autism settings.

We showcased some films produced by HEE on inspiring AHP's roles in mental health which can be found here. The films cover the following roles: Drama therapist, Music therapist, Art psychotherapist, Dietitian, Paramedic, and Occupational Therapist. 

We also had Dr. Jed Jerwood present his project on building the capacity of AHP Mental Health placements across the country.

Our next observatory will be held in the new year where further discussions will be taking place around influencing the wider world of what AHPs can offer within MH/LD/Autism services, EDI initiatives to champion diversity within the AHP workforce, and many other topics. 

29.09.21 - Allied Health Professionals in mental health and learning disability observatory 

On 29 September, we held our first online observatory for Allied Health Professionals (AHP's). This was a great introduction to a series of observatories for AHP's working in mental health and learning disabilities services. We had a good turnout with professionals from a variety of disciplines including occupational therapists, dietitians, dramatherapists, art therapists, and more. Jane Melton (HEE) chaired the session with support from our project managers, Atiya Fazalbhai and Hannah Poupart. 

A big thank you to all those who attended and participated. 

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