Thursday, 14 October is Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) Day. In a special feature, we profile just a few of the Trust’s hard-working AHPs and find out what they do and why they enjoy their roles.
AHP’s are the third largest healthcare workforce, and consist of 14 separate roles including art therapists, drama therapists, chiropodists and podiatrists, dieticians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners (ODPs) and speech and language therapists.
Nick Lane is BTH’s Chief AHP, and described why these professionals play such an important role in the Trust:
He said: “AHPs Day 2021 is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the contributions our AHPs have across all clinical pathways, ages and settings on the Fylde Coast.
“AHPs are an essential workforce for the Trust taking a lead in the diagnostic, assessment, treatment and care aspects of many patient pathways enabling the trusts multi-professional workforce to produce the very best outcomes for the local and regional citizens who require our support.
“What I see in our AHPs across the Trust is a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce with a drive to provide the very best service for their patients and a passion for improvement that is infectious and inspiring.”
Nick explained that working as an AHP is a rewarding career path and a change to ‘make an impact on the lives of people across all ages.’
He added: “I’d encourage people to look at one of the professions within the AHP family, for individuals who want to work whilst they learn we also support a number of apprenticeship courses within the Trust so it’s never too late to make a change and work towards becoming a qualified physiotherapist, radiographer, occupational therapist or podiatrist (to name but a few).”
You can also watch a video featuring Trust Medical Director, Dr Jim Gardner, here.
Fiona Leeming, Paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT)
Fiona works in the School Age Therapy Service for children aged 4-19 years, providing a range of therapeutic interventions to support them and their care givers in achieving dignity and independence with daily living activities.
These activities can include self-care (e.g. dressing, eating, toileting, moving and handling), engaging in play and fulfilling meaningful roles within the home and school setting. She specialises in the assessment and prescription of adaptive equipment, postural management and manual handling.
Working in the community across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, Fiona provides therapy for children and young people with complex physical needs in their homes and schools (mainstream and special school settings).
She said: “I find my job extremely rewarding and feel I am very lucky to work with such amazing children; they brighten up every day and are the reason I love my job!
“I work with a fantastic Team of OTs and physiotherapists. I also have the opportunity to work alongside many other professionals within the wider education and social care settings to provide holistic care for our children and young people.
“I would definitely recommend becoming an AHP to someone starting out in their career and particularly occupational therapy; it is such a rewarding job, offering a wide diversity of practice yet is often poorly promoted as a career.”
Zoe Derbyshire, Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Zoe works within the Early Years’ service at Blenheim, Whitegate Drive Health Centre, which covers 0–5-year-olds, assessing children’s fine motor skills (how they use their hands), their self-care skills (e.g. dressing, feeding, toileting) and their sitting skills (e.g. looking at postural management).
She then may need to assess and provide specialist equipment to help support children and to enable them to participate in everyday activities such as fine motor, mealtimes and, the most important one for children – play.
She said: “I came across occupational therapists when my grandad had a stroke – I was able to see what an impact the OTs had on his life and how they were able to make him independent again with the help of aids, adaptations, and support.
“I love working within the paediatrics setting as it has always been my dream career since studying at university. I previously worked within elderly rehabilitation (which I also enjoyed) and jumped at the opportunity when a role within the paediatric service came up.
“I feel privileged to work with such a lovely and caring team who make a difference to children’s lives across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast. I love seeing the positive impact we can make on children’s lives and the smiles on their faces makes everything worthwhile.
“I absolutely love making a difference in children’s and their families lives. I have always known that I wanted to work within the healthcare sector but knew I could not be a nurse as I do not deal well with blood and needles etc.”
Maryska Deamer, Paediatric Physiotherapist
Maryska works with school aged children in a number of settings providing physiotherapy assessment, treatment, and management of children with a wide variety of conditions. She works with many different professionals including health care, social care, and educational staff. Her physiotherapy input is to help support children to achieve their optimal physical development and promote independence through exercise, education, play and provide equipment where appropriate.
Maryska works in the community covering Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre in settings including special and mainstream schools, clinics and in homes.
She said: “I find my job very rewarding and love working across a variety of settings with lots of different people. No two days are the same.
“It is great to work with the children and the people who support them in their life to be the best they can be. At times you have to be creative in your approach with treatment plans and find out what they enjoy doing and tailor the exercises to that. A good exercise is an exercise they will do!
“The paediatric therapy team is a great team to be part of, they are a fab team who are supportive and knowledgeable! I would highly recommend becoming an AHP, especially a physiotherapist. There are so many different areas where you can work in (previously I worked in intermediate care). I love how treating paediatric patients is so different to adult!”