UNISON joins campaign to optimise AHP support workers

Trade unions and professional bodies come together to support the role of allied health professional workers

Various UK medical-related logos

UNISON has joined with other organisations to warn that allied health professional support workers must get equitable access to consistent and sustainable funding for education and professional development opportunities to support safe and effective patient care.

Allied health professional (AHP) support workers continue to be a crucial part of the pandemic response, yet many report feeling invisible and underused.

The coalition warns that healthcare services are failing to use the knowledge, skills and experience of AHPs in a planned and strategic way, undermining efforts to meet the demands of a growing population and adapt to changing patient needs.

Trade unions and professional bodies representing AHP support workers issued a joint statement calling for employers, policy makers and workforce planners in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to take urgent action to address the unacceptable inconsistencies in education and development opportunities for the AHP support workforce.

The statement is signed jointly by UNISON, together with the British Association of Art Therapists, the British Association of Drama Therapists, the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists, the British Dietetic Association, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society, the CSP, the College of Operating Department Practitioners, the College of Paramedics, the College of Podiatry, the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and the Society of Radiographers.

The statement calls for UK-wide career development and progression frameworks for AHP support workers, with universal access to funding for training. It also calls for the inclusion of AHP support workers in workforce development planning.

While it welcomed the recently published Health Education England training and career development framework for AHP support workers, the coalition insists that more must be done.