More than 200 Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) came together to share knowledge, network and celebrate their roles at Surrey Heartlands first AHP Conference this month.

AHPs – including physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, paramedics and occupational therapists – heard from a motivating line-up of speakers, including Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer.

Suzanne’s key message highlighted the importance of AHPs engaging with each other to improve health and wellbeing across Surrey.

“You all have a unique opportunity to achieve things. Do more to lead change – knock on doors, get involved, don’t wait to be invited, “she urged delegates. “I need you to rise up to the challenge.”

Suzanne shared examples of how AHPs have worked together to provide innovative solutions for patients and spoke of the national work which includes defining the leadership development pathway for AHPs.

“AHPs should be represented in the decision-making processes for STPs to ensure they have a strong voice in the redesign of health, social and the wider care system,” she said.

Sarah Parker, Surrey Heartlands Director of Transformation who began her career as an AHP, added: “The conference was all about celebrating our hardworking and talented AHPs and for them to have an opportunity to network. It was an inspiring day and helped to create better understanding about the work of Surrey Heartlands and how we all need to work as one team across the partnership.”

The conference was designed by AHP Leads from across Surrey Heartlands and was supported by the Surrey Heartlands Academy.

One of the AHP leads, Metka Shawe-Taylor, Director of Therapies for the Surrey and Borders Partnership, said:  “It was really good to meet colleagues from the different Surrey organisations and hear some very stimulating presentations. It was also nice to have the opportunity to showcase some excellent local work.”

Pictured: Some of the AHP leads who designed the event with Suzanne Rastrick and Sarah Parker. Left to right: Fred Watson, Ashford and St Peter’s Associate Director of Therapies; Sarah Parker, Surrey Heartlands Director of Transformation; Mary Bamgbade, Surrey County Council Senior Manager for Occupational Therapy; Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England’s Chief Allied Health Professions Officer ; Jane Harrison, CSH Surrey Clinical Manager; Sara Quarrie, Royal Surrey County Hospital Divisional Head of Professional Staffing and Nursing; Jeremy Nugent, Head of Therapy Services at Epsom & St Helier; and Sandra Pycock, Lead of Paediatric Therapies at Children and Family Health Surrey.