In 2019/20 HEE invested in the development of 24 AHP Faculty test beds to support the delivery of the Long-Term Plan, People Plan and HEE’s 2019 Mandate.
“An AHP faculty is a group of health, social care, private, independent, voluntary organisations (PIVO), education and training providers and arm’s length bodies (ALB), that formally work together across a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) or Integrated Care System (ICS), to support and deliver a collective approach to increasing placement capacity, supporting continuing professional development (CPD), developing Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) roles, building partnerships with education providers and addressing other local training and education priorities."
The aim of the AHP Faculties was to improve the co-ordination of workforce activity across Integrated Care Systems with a focus on supply, education and training to secure the current supply pipeline and future growth of the AHP workforce.
By testing out the feasibility of putting in place AHP Faculties, the project explored the extent to which this architecture can support a system-wide collaboration to positively impact on AHP workforce supply and development.
…. The faculty provides a focus for the 14 individual AHP professions to work together across systems.
Paula Breeze, HEE National Clinical Fellow and AHP Faculty Project Lead
HEE commissioned a two part evaluation of the faculties using mixed methods research to identify early lessons on process, impact and economic value.
The findings suggested that overall, the faculties align well to expectations although some elements may need to be developed further for some faculties (particularly around quality improvement methodology and informatics capabilities).
The test bed project took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result progress was delayed for some faculties where key resources had to be redeployed to work on COVID-19 related activities.
However, some faculties used the pandemic as an opportunity to push ahead with plans and adapt to the emerging situation. Several faculties found that the new networks that had been created that facilitated system-wide collaboration which improved their ability to respond collectively during the pandemic.
During the pandemic faculties have helped us to stay connected as systems whilst bringing students with us.
Beverley Harden, HEE National AHP Lead and Deputy Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.
The evaluation identified that critical success factors for establishment and successful operations of the faculty are likely to include: system-wide leadership and empowerment of the Faculty leads to lead beyond their authority, engagement with the HEIs, culture of collaboration, access to placement tariff funding, availability and use of data and informatics, recognition and priority within the wider ICS workforce agenda.
Having a faculty has helped our AHP Council mission by enhancing our influence and voice. Immediately in our system, there was a common goal for AHPs to complement the perspectives of our traditionally medically orientated leadership.
Dr Jane Melton MBE FRCOT PhD is Interim Lead for Allied Health Professionals, One Gloucestershire ICS and Interim Regional Chief AHP, South West NHS E/I.
It became clear pretty quickly that there wasn’t a central point of coordination for student placements. I wanted to get a sense of what was going on: some areas were really proactive, but others weren’t. We have a large number of AHPs (300) and there was such a big opportunity for us as a community, to be taking a large number of placements.
Helen Lycett is Strategic Trust Lead for Allied Health Professions at West London NHS Trust and she utilised the AHP Faculty to coordinate student placements across the ICS.
In July 2020, a virtual AHP Faculty showcase took place where faculties were able to share their learning and experiences of setting up an AHP Faculty.
we witnessed energy, innovation, and creativity at the AHP Faculty showcase, the open sharing of achievement and learning from AHPs was inspiring. The impact of Faculty development already demonstrates how collaborative working benefits all elements of the systems.
Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England
So, it appears that after surviving a challenging start, the AHP Faculties are here to stay and for many systems they have become business as usual.
There are now 25 established AHP Faculties with varying levels of maturity across England and the remaining 17 systems are in the process of setting up their faculties.
A set of resources have been produced to support existing and emerging Faculties to develop and thrive.
- AHP Faculty virtual platform on NHS Futures website
- National AHP Faculty chairs network
- Short animation, ‘What is an AHP Faculty?’
- AHP Faculty Maturity Matrix
- AHP Faculty Evaluation
- Series of AHP workforce data webinars
- Bite-sized systems leadership sessions will take place on 21 April and 12 May 2021.
From 1 April 2021 the oversight, development and support of STP/ICS AHP faculties will move to the responsibility of Regional HEE teams via the Regional Head of AHPs or Regional AHP lead.