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Top-level talks confirm AHP role in white paper

Members of the Allied Health Professions Federation (AHPF) held high-level talks with NHS Chief Executive Sir Nigel Crisp on 14 February.

The meeting, held shortly before the announcement of Sir Nigel’s resignation, discussed how the AHPF and AHPs can support the development of the white paper, Our health, our care, our say.

RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok and Head of Policy and Partnerships Nick Smith represented the speech and language therapy profession.

According to Kamini, the meeting was extremely constructive and showed how, by acting as a single unit with shared goals, allied health professional groups could work together to attract ministerial attention.

“The meeting helped raise the profile of SLTs and other AHPs with senior Department of Health (DH) contacts as well as strengthening the RCSLT’s relationship with other AHP bodies,” Kamini said.

Kamini informed Sir Nigel that the RCSLT was keen to be involved in developing guidance for commissioners and that AHPs should be fully engaged in local governance structures at the strategic health authority and PCT levels.

The group also pressed Sir Nigel on issues of governance, payment by results, patient choice, self-referral and commissioning.

According to Nick Smith, SLTs and other AHPs are particularly concerned about commissioners’ understanding of all the elements involved in care pathways, especially in the case of marginalised groups that GPs might not see routinely.

“The RCSLT said it was keen to ensure its members have the opportunity to get involved in the decision-making process at the local level,” Nick added.

Sir Nigel said he acknowledged the concerns the RCSLT and other AHPs had on developing the capacity of PCTs and GPs in commissioning. He suggested setting up a meeting with the then Director of Commissioning Sir Ian Caruthers (at the time of writing the government has announced that Sir Ian will replace Sir Nigel as NHS CEO).

mental health problems and learning disabilities, as well as in reducing inequalities and supporting access for marginalised groups and minimising social exclusion,” Kamini Gadhok said.

“The role of AHPs is unique, as they often are solely responsible for the delivery of the whole care pathway from assessment to diagnosis to treatment, ensuring appropriate and personal care at every stage.”

RCSLT CEO Kamini Gadhok:“The meeting helped raise the profile of SLTs and other AHPs with senior DH contacts”

Geoff Wilson

The delegation informed Sir Nigel that it felt further discussion needed to take place on charging structures and patient choice, because of the complexity of care involved in the community.

“We are keen to ensure that charges for care in community settings are set correctly and take account of the rehabilitation/social model of care,” said Nick Smith.

its conference, Commissioning a Patient-led NHS, on 27 April (see box below for details on how you can book your place).

The AHPF explained to Sir Nigel how its members can help implement the white paper. Initiatives already underway include the use of practice-based accreditation and audit tools to support benchmarking and quality, and closer working with the NHS Confederation to produce a briefing on the implementation of the white paper.

“AHP roles are also key in care pathways for people with long-term conditions; children; older people and people with

“Indeed, in recent weeks the DH has withdrawn the national tariff for payment by results, which was due to go live in April, because of ‘underlying errors in the calculation’.”

Sir Nigel recognised that the DH needed to review the information on charging structures and ensure they were workable. He suggested that the AHPF works through Chief Health Professions Officer Kay East to inform the work on tariffs.

He also acknowledged that the AHPF needed to “grab the moment” and welcomed AHP involvement at this time of great change in the NHS.

Commissioning a Patient-led NHS: what does it mean for you?

27 April, Holiday Inn, London

An essential conference for all allied health professionals Great value: only £65 for RCSLT members and £110 for other AHPs Top-level speakers will include: System reform: Kay East, Chief Health Professions Officer Commissioning: Heather Wicks, Head of Commissioning and Service Redesign, Oxford City PCT Payment by Results: Noel Plumridge, former NHS Finance Director Different provider models: Jo Webber, NHS Confederation Workforce planning: Judy Curson, National Workforce Review Team Connecting for Health: Jan Laidlow, Connecting for Health AHP clinical lead

Sir Nigel also informed the delegation that he was pleased the RCSLT would be holding

Book your place now, visit: www.rcslt.org/april27

www.rcslt.org

April 2006 bulletin

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