Education for all – By AHPs, for AHPs

We thought it would be a good idea to explore what we, as AHPs, are up to in NHS Education for Scotland (NES); both in the work we do and the diverse roles we work in. And what we found was – we’re everywhere! We hope this gives you a bit of a flavour of several programmes of work, initiatives and resources available to support AHP practice.

The NHS Education for Scotland Strategy for 2019-2024 articulates the following strategic intent

‘Having the right numbers of skilled, trained and supported staff, in the right place, at the right time, and in the right roles is essential to providing high quality health and care services which address health inequalities and encourage and support people to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing’

Gail image 1The AHPs working in NES support not only AHPs but some of them work in programmes which support many professional groups. The AHP workforce constitutes approximately 12,500 registered staff (not including social care) and approximately 2,300 support staff.

There are numerous programmes of work underway at NES and we want to give you an overview of the wide range delivered by AHPs and which support AHP practice across Scotland.

Strategic Direction for AHP Workforce Development

Elaine Figgins is the Associate Director at NES, with Moraig Rollo in an interim Associate Director’s post.

Elaine and Moraig have the strategic role in addressing educational implications from policy and population need for the AHP workforce across Scotland. This involves liaising with many stakeholders: Scottish Government, AHP Directors Scotland Group, AHP Professional Bodies Scotland, AHP Academic Heads, Health Education England and others.

An area of current focus is workforce planning for AHPs across Scotland which will begin to let us understand what we have, what we need and how we plan workforce. This includes all levels of the AHP workforce from support workers through to consultant roles. We are working on advancing and transforming practice to enable AHPs to work in new areas of practice, and identifying the education required for this.

To get in touch contact either or

Working with Health Care Support Workers

Linda Harris is a Principal Educator in the Pre-Registration Team. The Team delivers the Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW) programme serving over 21,000 HCSWs in NHSScotland in a wide range of settings inclusive of nursing, midwifery and AHPs. Within the Programme the focus is on three key themes:

Gail image 2

This is achieved through the national HCSW Advisory group, HCSW events and working with leaders and educators in health boards. A current AHP example is a collaboration with the AHP Career Fellowships testing the Assistant Practice Educator role with NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Lothian. The team can be contacted at

Practice Education for the Workforce

Susan Shandley is the Programme Lead for the AHP Practice Education programme, working with Peter Glover and Gail Nash, the AHP Practice Education Coordinators.

The AHP Practice Education team works with the AHP Practice Education Leads (PELs) to support the practice education (or work-based learning) requirements of the AHP workforce. Currently the programme has the following key workstreams (Figure 2) which are delivered by the PELs and our national working groups.

Gail figure 2Figure 2

You can find resources to support your practice on the AHP Community of Practice

For more information contact

Leadership Development

Gail image 3Graham Paxton is the Principal Lead in the Organisational, Leadership & Education Development Department. The main areas of work he leads on are national leadership programmes such as “Leading for the Future”, and helping leaders and managers work with complex change challenges. This enables leaders and managers at all levels, from all backgrounds, to “be the best they can be” for the people they work with, and the populations they serve. In the last year this has come to life as the Leadership & Management Zone on the NES TURAS Learn platform.

For further information contact

Psychological Therapies Education

Anne Joice leads the Psychological Therapies and Interventions for Adult Mental Health Team within the Psychology Directorate in NHS Education for Scotland. Our focus is to increase the capacity within the multidisciplinary Scottish NHS workforce to provide psychological therapies and interventions, with the intention of reducing waiting times for people who have mental health problems. For further information please contact Anne

Quality Improvement

Julia Mackel and Emily Brown are Senior Educators in the Quality Improvement team. Julia and Emily both co-deliver the national educational programmes to support developments of the quality skills of the workforce. Further information about the course and other resources to support your development can be found on the Quality Improvement Zone

Career Fellowship Scheme

Audrey Taylor is a Principal Educator with a role in the Mental Health team and also leads on the AHP Career Fellowship scheme.

If you have got an idea to improve or change services, something that would make a difference to the people who use AHP services,  and want a career development opportunity then the AHP Career Fellowship Scheme wants to hear from you. This scheme is open to all AHP staff in Scotland working in health and social care. It supports AHPs to lead work based projects and participate in a learning and development programme over a 10-12 month period.

For more information contact or visit our webpage.

Person centred care, health and social care integration and spiritual care

Helen McFarlane is a Head of Programme leading on the person centred care workstream.

Being person centred and promoting a personal outcomes approach to how AHPs work in all practice settings is a key part of this programme. The programme provides learning resources and support aimed at all health and social care staff – including Allied Health Professionals.

First developed by the healthcare chaplains, a number of AHPs have found the Values Based Reflective Practice (VBRP workshops a highly valuable tool to aid their supervision and reflections on situations and in particular the emotionally challenging work with service users, carers and other partners that AHPs are often engaged in.

Working in integrated teams alongside health and social care colleagues is another common setting for many AHPs. We work in close partnership with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to support staff education regarding our role in supporting carers. The equal partners in Care (EPiC ) online resource has recently been refreshed to take into account the Carers Act and will be launched later this month.

For further information contact Helen McFarlane –

You can also keep in touch with our new resources, initiatives, events and learning opportunities by following us @NESnmahp.

Please look out for our second blog which explores how NES can support AHP role and career development.


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