Access and waiting, are a well accepted priorities for improvement. The DH has launched the AHP Service Improvement Project to address these shared concerns for users of allied health professional (AHP)services, their carers, service providers and commissioners in acute and community settings.
Senior nurses will already be aware of the pressing need to manage access to AHP services, particularly where patient flow is part of an integrated care pathway.
Discharge planning is another area of concern, where AHP services help drive improvements that benefit patients and the multi-disciplinary team.
Sally Fowler Davis and Dawn Smith - AHPs with clinical and academic backgrounds - have been seconded to the DH to manage the AHP Service Improvement Project.
They have already met with most of the SHAs to initiate the co-production of the project and the recruitment of provider services to the first phase of improvement initiatives. Many of these multi-disciplinary service teams are likely to include nurses, nursing managers and commissioners.
‘The support we’re planning through SHA AHP leads aims to enable the spread of improvement practice across AHP service providers and to begin providing a way of demonstrating quality improvements, which we know are continuing across AHP services,’ Sally explains.
A minimum of three AHP services per region are being recruited, one in each area being a being a children’s service.
‘We hope to capitalise on existing good practice in managing waits and build on this work to improve access to AHP services,’ says Sally.
‘The aim is to pilot and then roll out a sustainable change that upholds and adds value to local improvement plans.’
One of the project team’s early initiatives is making sure that leads on Transforming Community Services and 18 weeks are familiar with the project and help prioritise local recruitment.
‘Engaging with other strategic programmes, like these two, is vital,’ says Sally.
‘Ultimately, the service improvement project will be evaluated on how it impacts on the waits that users and practitioners find unacceptable and want to change.’