Strengthening Allied Health Professionals’ contribution to health and wellbeing

An Allied Health Professions Director from NHS Grampian has accepted the position of Visiting Professor at Robert Gordon University (RGU) to collaboratively support changes in healthcare delivery to meet the challenges of an ageing population.

Delivering the integrated healthcare models of tomorrow will mean that training for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), such as Physiotherapists, Dietitians and Occupational Therapists, will have an increased focus on prevention, early intervention and becoming first point of contact practitioners.

The appointment of Susan Carr, NHS Grampian’s Director of Allied Health Professions and Public Protection, as Visiting Professor deepens the collaborative development of RGU’s demand-led teaching and research in line with the workforce needs of the sector.

Susan said: “The very nature of an ageing population means that there is an increasing demand for Allied Health Professionals who have a very important role in keeping people active, independent, living at home and enjoying life. We also have to be aware that as people get older they can become frail and vulnerable, and this is where a good understanding of the public protection aspect comes in.

“RGU has always been proactive in this area. There’s a high level of expertise at the university, and it’s about finding ways we can work together to continuously improve that. The better we support students coming out of university, the better equipped they are to do their job and support that wider public protection role.”

The Full Review of the Shortage Occupation List in May, by the Migration Advisory Committee, highlights the healthcare challenges the UK faces, including an ageing population and an increase in young adults living with disabilities. The Scottish Government’s Active and Independent Living Programme outlines how AHPs have a key role in supporting Scotland through these challenges by transforming the way AHPs work with the public to co-create health and wellbeing.

RGU will work with Susan and NHS Grampian to provide quality placement opportunities alongside NHS staff and a curriculum collaboratively designed to meet the challenges of the industry. The collaboration will also support students’ contribution to the multi-agency public protection agenda to keep children, young people and adults safe from harm and give them the confidence to help those in vulnerable situations.

Head of The School of Health Sciences at RGU, Dawn Mitchell, said: “We’ve worked closely with Susan and her team over a number of years, and this partnership and collaboration has helped to shape the development of our Allied Health Professions’ educational portfolio.

“Offering the position of Visiting Professor recognises Susan’s extensive experience and influence, and her commitment to RGU’s School of Health Sciences.”

Susan takes a lead role in working with the Scottish Government, NHS Education for Scotland and practice colleagues through key membership in the national Allied Health Professions Directors’ group. Through close collaboration with RGU, Susan uses this influence to help policy makers and service providers gain awareness and increase support for the educational developments being created in response to rising demand for AHPs.