Allied health professions
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Prosthetists and orthotists are one of the 14 professional groups of autonomous healthcare providers known as allied health professionals (AHPs). We have led a significant piece of work to examine the workforce challenges being faced within these professions and find possible solutions to overcome them.
Prosthetists treat patients with congenital limb loss as well as limb loss due to diabetes, poor circulation, infection, trauma and malignancies/tumours.
Orthotists treat patients with a wide range of conditions including diabetes, arthritis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spina bifida, scoliosis, muscular skeletal, sports injuries and trauma.
It is estimated that around 2 million people in England receive care from orthotic services. This number is expected to grow due to increases in the ageing population and the rising prevalence of obesity, cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease, diabetes and stroke. We expect an increase in demand for orthotists to deliver these services.
This work began as a result of a specific action for Health Education England published in the NHS England report Improving the Quality of Orthotic Services in England. However, as the education and training of orthotists and prosthetists is inextricably linked, it was decided that both the orthotic and prosthetic workforce should be included.
Working in collaboration with the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) patient representatives and a broad range of other stakeholders, we have led a significant piece of work to examine the workforce challenges faced within the orthotic and prosthetic profession and investigate possible solutions to overcome them.
It is hoped that the outcomes and actions contained within our final report, which can be found below, will empower employers and other stakeholders to build on this foundation and deliver an increased number of well-educated and appropriately skilled orthotists and prosthetists to improve patient outcomes, and ultimately provide the right care in the right place at the right time.
An online training resource produced in partnership with NHS England, the University of Salford and BAPO, has been launched to support mentorship for prosthetics.
The free e-learning package can be accessed here.