Words by Jan Beattie – Allied Health Professional Advisor, Primary Care, Scottish Government
Allied Health is not only a group of different professionals who come together with a collective vision of helping people live their best life but also as a collective group across the world.
I work in a leadership role in Scottish Government supporting and developing the Allied Health contribution to the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland.
Within the UK there are differences in which professionals come under the banner of Allied Health for each of the 4 countries and whilst regulation is UK wide there is sometimes variation in roles.
I recently met one therapist who drives to a boat, sails over to an island, and then drives the GP practice car at the other end… weather permitting of course. The next meeting, I can be spending time with a therapist who works in an acute hospital and rarely gets the opportunity to go outside during a busy shift.
One of my tasks is to develop non-medical prescribing. Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, paramedics, radiographers, and dietitians can all train to prescribe medicines. This enables a person to get the right care from the right person at the right time without having to go back and forth between practitioners.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have witnessed the hard work and dedication of all of our Allied Health professionals. Many services here in the UK were paused or had to quickly adapt to different ways of working. Face to Face consultations could only happen in urgent and emergency care, so we had to change our usual ways of working, with telephone and video consultations becoming the norm. As services have started to resume, we have had the opportunity to learn and many services now offer a blended model of care where they can. Some carers find it easier to have an online consultation, people living in remote areas have reduced travelling, and therapists across the country have been able to connect more.
I feel very fortunate to be an Allied Health professional and whilst, like everyone else I have had days where work is tough, I have never wanted to work anywhere else. We are wonderful problem solvers; we work with a whole person not just a disease or condition; we can adapt, be innovative, and creative in our work, and best of all… we get to make a difference for the people we work alongside.
My chosen career has been varied, enabled me to learn and thrive, and has allowed me to travel and connect with others… and… wherever I go I am reminded that I am part of that wonderful worldwide Allied Health group.