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Understanding the role of allied health professional support workers with exercise qualifications in the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan within allied health professional services in England

Singh, Vincent; Pollard, Katherine; Okasheh, Rasha; Percival, John; Cramp, Fiona

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Authors

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Rasha Okasheh Rasha.Okasheh@uwe.ac.uk
Research Fellow: Realist Evaluation

Fiona Cramp Fiona.Cramp@uwe.ac.uk
Professor in Long Term Conditions



Abstract

Demand modelling for the allied health professionals (AHPs) workforce showed that significant expansion would be needed to successfully deliver on the National Health Service (NHS) Long Term Plan. The aim was to explore the use of AHP support workers with exercise qualifications in AHP services and to understand their current and potential role in NHS commissioned AHP services in England. The project had two phases and took place between October 2020 and January 2021. In phase one, an electronic survey was carried out to identify the scope and variation of exercise professionals working in AHP support roles in NHS commissioned services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in phase two to gain further understanding about the experiences of those involved in AHP commissioned services. Survey data were analysed using descriptive statistics and interview data were qualitatively analysed using thematic analysis. Recorded interviews were transcribed and initially coded. Coding was then refined and themes were identified. Support workers with exercise qualifications made a valued contribution to AHP services and were considered cost-effective in delivering a specialised exercise intervention. AHP support workers contributed to a range of tasks relating to clinical exercise prescription. Collated data highlighted inconsistency in the way AHP support workers with exercise qualifications identified themselves, despite similar roles. Variation existed in the level of autonomy for AHP support workers with exercise qualifications, even within the same NHS Agenda for Change band. Attempts to manage this disparity involved numerous governance processes to ensure safe, high-quality healthcare in the context of delegation to support workers. Limited training and development opportunities and the lack of career progression for support workers were consistently acknowledged as a source of frustration and hindrance to individuals fulfilling their potential. AHP support workers with exercise qualifications have potential to positively impact service delivery providing added value to the NHS workforce.

Citation

Singh, V., Pollard, K., Okasheh, R., Percival, J., & Cramp, F. (2023). Understanding the role of allied health professional support workers with exercise qualifications in the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan within allied health professional services in England. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 9(3), Article e001625. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001625

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 18, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 29, 2023
Publication Date Aug 29, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 5, 2023
Journal BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Print ISSN 2055-7647
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Article Number e001625
DOI https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001625
Keywords Exercise rehabilitation, Public health, Sports & exercise medicine
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/11072356

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