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Prescribing one of ten 'key roles' for Allied Health Professionals

Published on 29/10/03 at 09:49am

Allied Health Professionals are to be encouraged to play a greater role in prescribing as part of a new government drive to increase their involvement in clinical roles.

Health minister Rosie Winterton launched the Ten Key Roles for Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to make the most of their often underused expertise in working with patients.

Physiotherapists, chiropodists, paramedics and art therapists are just a few of the professions included under the AHP grouping, and the government hopes they can be the first point of contact for patient care in many cases, and carry out a single assessment.

The roles clarify that AHPs whilst working within protocols can discharge or refer patients. They are also able to request and assess diagnostic tests, and supply [prescribe] and administer medicines.

The roles were developed by representatives from all the AHPs in collaboration with the Department of Health.

Chief Health Professions Officer Kay East said: "AHPs provide high quality, effective and integrated patient centred services, and working with them to develop these roles has been a very positive experience."

"They are keen to grasp the opportunities that the NHS offers to develop advanced practice and skills, and work together as professionals to encourage the clinical, intellectual and personal development of competent professionals and support staff."

The ten key roles

1) To develop extended clinical and practitioner roles which cross professional and organisational boundaries

2) To be a first point of contact for patient care, including single assessment

3) To diagnose, request and assess diagnostic tests, and prescribe, working with protocols where appropriate

4) To discharge and/or refer patients to other services, working with protocols where appropriate

5) To provide consultancy support to others promoting the AHP contribution to patient independence and functioning, training, developing, mentoring, teaching, informing and educating health care professionals, students, patients and carers

6) To manage and lead teams, projects, services and case loads, providing clinical leadership

7) To develop and apply the best available research evidence and evaluative thinking in all areas of practice

8)To play a central role in the promotion of health and well being

9) To take an active role in strategic planning and policy development for local organisations and services

10) To extend and improve collaboration with other professions and services, including shared working practices and tools.

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