Allied Health Professions Day 14th October 2019
Cheryl Tudor, AHP National Lead: Work Ready, Scottish Government
In today’s blog I am pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate some of the great work taking place across Scotland by AHPs in support of the Work Ready (vocational rehabilitation) work stream. To appreciate the huge impact this has for individuals and their families, and to hopefully inspire others to reflect on their own practice and consider opportunities to make small changes that can make a significant difference.
It has been an interesting few weeks in both the local and national press with regards to health and work. In one article there was celebration about a motivated, skilled gentleman who has been deaf since birth describing his delight at finally being given the opportunity to work after several years of unemployment. Whilst in another there was disappointment expressed by an individual recently diagnosed with a rare form of dementia who became unemployed, and is now struggling to obtain further work. I can’t comment on these individual’s specific circumstances – but what these articles do point to, is the need for the right advice and support to address misconceptions, overcome barriers and inform other of supports available.
What has been fantastic to see since I joined Scottish Government as a national lead, is the growing number of AHPs, who recognise their knowledge of the functional impact of health conditions makes them well placed to ask about work. By doing so, they are able to offer practical advice or signpost to other services to enable individuals to gain or retain employment. Much of this is thanks to work taking place nationally by a number of passionate, skilled AHPs including vocational rehabilitation leads working to deliver the objectives of the Work Ready work stream, and by individuals supported through the NHS AHP career fellowships. In many areas local vocational pathways have been developed, asking about the impact of health on work which has become core to practice, and clinicians feel confident and competent using the AHP Health and Work Report.
As someone who has worked for many years in the sphere of health and work, this is incredibly encouraging to see: I recognised early on that many of the people I met who had become unemployed because of their health (often for very extended periods), became so in circumstances that could have been avoided. This frequently had devastating consequences on their finances, housing, relationships, and wellbeing which thankfully improved for them and their families once they re-entered the workforce. Having also worked to support job retention, I’ve seen that when the right approach is taken people can return to / remain at work, even with long-term, fluctuating or deteriorating conditions, including dementia. Furthermore, individuals who can’t remain in their current jobs can progress into other paid roles.
I would just like to finish by asking those of you who work with individuals of working age, do you ask about the impact of health on work?
If so, use AHP day to shout about what you do and the impact this has using #AHPsDayScot
On the other hand, if you don’t, take a moment to reflect on why this might be as there’s a real risk an opportunity to assist will be missed, and even a small change could make a significant difference
If you would like to know more, there’s lots of practical information here and you are very welcome to get in touch.