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Your AHPs need you – help shape the future of the Allied Health Professions in Northern Ireland

Hazel Winning is an Occupational Therapist who now works at the Department of Health as their Allied Health Professions (AHP) Lead. Allied Health Professions cover a wide range of treatments, therapies and services. Hazel explains why your contribution is essential as the Department of Health draws up plans to ensure there are enough staff to deliver Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy services for patients and clients.

“We’re aiming to build a health and social care system that helps people to stay well for longer, with services delivered in the community, where possible. AHPs will play a key part in delivering this.

AHPs provide treatment and help rehabilitate adults and children who are ill, have disabilities or special needs, to live life as fully as possible – so you’ve probably used their services at some stage.

They work across a wide range of different settings including the community, people’s homes and schools, as well as hospitals. They also work in the independent sector and for charities.

We need the right number of trained AHP staff in place to deliver our ambitious programme.  We’re developing workforce plans to ensure this can happen.  We’ve talked to the professionals themselves, and they’ve told us how they see things developing for the future.

But there’s one piece missing. How it works on the ground, for someone using the services.  That’s why we’re asking for your help, to give us the benefit of your experience.  So if you’re a service user or carer who has used any of these services:

  • Occupational Therapy;
  • Physiotherapy; or
  • Speech and Language Therapy;

 then we need to hear from you now.

We’re running a Stakeholder Engagement Event in Ulster University, Jordanstown on Friday 24 November 2017 from 10.00am – 2.00pm.  It’s your chance to help shape future service delivery and have your voice heard.

We’re not looking for experts. What we want are people who will consider, reflect and share their experiences in an open and honest way, helping these professions develop for the future.”

If you’d like to get involved, you can book your place for this event by emailing or calling (028) 9052 3233 on or before 12.00 on 17 November 2017.

You’ll receive a full information pack to enable you to take part in discussion during the event. A light lunch will also be provided and service users will be able to claim reasonable travel expenses to attend the event.

If you can’t attend but wish to comment on these issues, please contact the Department using the details above to receive your information pack. Your written comments must be received on or before 5.00pm on 24th November 2017.

Please let us know if you have any special requirements to enable you to attend this event.


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Previous comments ...

george Bunting 23-Nov-2017 at 17:08 hrs

The important criteria is early diagnosis and intervention , this can only occur when there are sufficient qualified staff to over see the ever increasing demands. Children especially have to wait too long for assessment and intervention which can slow their potential and development . However it all comes back to funding and the continued demands , the N H S . will continue to be like the money box with the hole in the bottom , and we have to understand with the ever increasing costs someone has to pay for it, to quote the PM there is no magic money tree. But someone has to grab the big stingy nettle ,yes we have to cut waste which is still running too high but we also have to be prepared to fund it and if that means extra taxes then we have to face up to it nothing is really for nothing. Also as a population we must be responsible to ensure we live a healthy life style were possible . The amount of money spent in the N H S on drug /alcohol abuse and other life style choices like smoking could otherwise be spent on other fronts . There are so many complex issues but it is time to have a real adult conversation as to were do we really go from here and how do we pay for it there's a choice to be made.


Bernie McCormick 21-Nov-2017 at 12:28 hrs

I worked in Learning Disability all through my adult working life. There has always been a severe shortage of AHP staff in Special s schools. SLT staff had to treat young children rather than those further up the school . These children became young adults who generally missed out on therapy provision as they were not deemed to be a priority. However when they left school they could then go onto adult services case loads.
This policy makes no sense at all. oTs were so over worked they only had time to deal with equipment needs- nothing else. Disgraceful provision.


john fogarty 20-Nov-2017 at 21:50 hrs

I was from 1986 to 2009 a rehabilitation worker with blind and partially sighted. the specialist training was of great help.we aimed to make the visually impaired person better able to cope with their disability to the maximum. i I am now retired but i sstill get positive feedback from patients


joan leckey 19-Nov-2017 at 17:04 hrs

i would like to submit my comments


Helly 18-Nov-2017 at 12:11 hrs

I received excellent care from physiotherapists in the RVH and LVH after my TIA's and broken metatarsal bone.


Gwyneth McQuiston 18-Nov-2017 at 05:15 hrs

You need to look at specific learning disability physiotherapists, they are non existent in the western trust and that has had serious detrimental impact on those patients, so much so we are adding mobility disability onto their already disabled life!


A Gamble 17-Nov-2017 at 20:48 hrs

With the increasing number of older people, all of the above therapies are essential. I was appalled when I attended a Trust Consultation Meeting to hear that 70 million pounds has to be saved overall in the Health Service. Why can't we save this amount of money by reducing WASTE in all of the civil and public services; STOP PAYING for MLAs who are not working but getting paid anyway; PROTECTING whistle blowers and their relatives/carers if they point to where waste occurs; stop running the Health Service as an ARTIFICIAL Market Place when what we need are more professional Health Staff for example in hospitals, and fewer managers, (you can tell how many of them there are when you check the car parks in hospitals at 5.00 p.m.); STOP paying private companies who hold our Procurement Officers to ransom by overcharging for the goods we need in hospitals, etc; REDUCE the number of Trusts and avoid duplication of staff and services in a place as small as NI; HAVE a mixed economy of for example statutory -v- private nursing homes, because privatisation doesn't work as private companies are in the business to make a profit. (All of our nursing homes are privately owned which is disgraceful). All of these faults are paid for from the private purse! In other words OUR money. GOVERNMENT HAS TO CHANGE ITS POLICY!


Charlie Lynn 17-Nov-2017 at 20:30 hrs

Hello, just a quick reply to your email, no but due to my disability I would be unable to attend your event. Got so much pain at present but I so wish I had the power to reverse the cuts made on the NHS by our right wing government.


Maria Mcgillewie 17-Nov-2017 at 18:05 hrs

I'm really sorry to miss this opportunity to partake. I also work in the health service and I live with a stroke victim. We rarely can get to interested events where we feel we would be of benefit because of work. Regretfully yours Maria Mc Gillewie.