Promoting partnership working in Coventry and Warwickshire

In order to support the delivery of the Long-Term Plan and People Plan; Health Education England (HEE) developed 24 Allied Health Professions Faculty test beds across the country.
 
AHP Faculty Test beds are an expert advisory group and a connecting forum to the whole health and care system. They provide a setting for key stakeholders to work together to ensure that there was enough health care staff to meet demands. The aim of the AHP Faculties is to improve the co-ordination of workforce activity across Integrated Care Systems with a focus on supply, education and training to secure the current supply pipeline and future growth of the AHP workforce.

The project so far has resulted in the successful provision of students from across the country during COVID pandemic including shared job descriptions and contracting terms during paid placements. It facilitated an increase of 24% in the number of students placed despite the challenges of COVID-19. 

Why change was needed

To support the delivery of the Long-Term Plan and People Plan; Health Education England (HEE) invested in the development of 24 Allied Health Professions (AHP) Faculty test beds across England. 

The NHS Long Term Plan emphasised the need ensure enough staff are available to meet demand, by:

  • increasing the number of people joining the AHP workforce
  • reducing attrition in education and training
  • improving retention of the existing workforce
  • increased international recruitment.

An AHP faculty is a group of health, social care, private, independent, voluntary organisations (PIVO), education and training providers and arm’s length bodies (ALB), that formally work together across a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) or Integrated Care System (ICS), to support and deliver a collective approach to increasing placement capacity, supporting continuing professional development (CPD), developing Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) roles, building partnerships with education providers and addressing other local training and education priorities.

The AHP Faculty model provides the structure to facilitate system-wide working between health and care providers and Higher Education Institutions.

What we did

Health Education England (HEE) invited expressions of interest from Allied Health Professions (AHP) Councils for project funding to develop an ‘AHP Faculty Test bed’. 

The aim of the ‘AHP Faculty Test Bed’ was to create a forum where key stakeholders work in partnership to improve AHP workforce supply, retention and development and support the achievement of the objectives of both the Long-Term Plan and Interim People Plan. 

Successful applicants were expected to test the feasibility of an ‘AHP Faculty’ with a view to developing a sustainability plan for beyond the life of the project. Each test bed had to identify a focus for the work of the AHP Faculty across the test bed phase based on local need and all feasibility projects were due to be delivered by 30th June.
 
Coventry and Warwickshire AHP Council were successful in their application to become an AHP Faculty Test bed and the project was led by the Associate Director for AHPs at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) on behalf of the AHP Council. The focus across the feasibility testing period was AHP management and capacity.
  
Activities across the test bed period included developing the Faculty (including appropriate membership terms of reference, identification of key deliverables and a governance framework) and establishing the feasibility of a place-based approach to placement management and expansion.

It was anticipated that over the six-month test bed period the AHP Faculty would become a part of the ongoing formalised governance structures across the Health Care Partnership and a long-term work plan for implementation beyond the initial project period would be developed. The project objectives were separated into two phases and are outlined in the table below:
 

Phase Objectives
Phase 1
  • Set up an AHP faculty
  • Establish clear governance frameworks and reporting arrangements
  • Establish a baseline of placement capacity for the professions in scope
  • Develop a strategy to meet future placement capacity requirements
  • Develop a clear policy for the management of placements
Phase 2
  • Develop a sustainable AHP Faculty
  • Produce a Faculty strategic work plan for delivery post the initial six-month test bed project 
  • Delivery of increased number of placements post six-month test bed period

 

The plan had been to broaden membership of the AHP Faculty following the pilot phase. Due to the requirement to support all AHP placements across the region during the COVID pandemic, the membership quickly expanded to include other universities that educate AHP students. 

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the expansion of the AHP faculty and it now comprises of:

  • Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
  • South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust 
  • Coventry City Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Coventry University 
  • West Midlands HEE
  • Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • University of Birmingham
  • Birmingham University
  • Leicester University


The HEE funded project begun on the 18th January 2020 and completed at the end of July (an extension of the original date due to impact of COVID).

The project resulted in the successful provision of students from across the country during COVID pandemic including shared job descriptions and contracting terms during paid placements. It facilitated an increase of 24% in the number of students placed despite the challenges of COVID-19. 
 

What’s next 

The focus for 2021/22 will be:

  • Placement expansion with new models of practice
  • Apprenticeship (Access to careers)
  • AHP Support worker development
  • Return to Practice

 

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