Prof David Oliver is a Consultant Geriatrician in Berkshire and a visiting Professor in Medicine of Older People at City University, London. He is President Elect of the British Geriatrics Society.
David writes in the King’s Fund blog on the how critical the work of Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHPs) is to the care of older people:
Reflecting on our recent paper on the NHS and social care workforce, modern health care is a team venture. It is impossible to deliver effective care without the crucial contribution of highly trained allied health professionals (or AHPs). I look after older people with complex needs for a living. Alongside multiple co-morbidities, many have social vulnerability, functional impairment or communication difficulties which complicate the acute problem they presented with. This is the reality of modern hospital case-mix. Both Francis Inquiries recognised that it was the care of such frail older patients that had caused most concern.
[…] It’s high time we gave AHPs overdue recognition as key players in services that are now team ventures. Population demographics mean that increasingly the business of health care will be the business of caring for older people who require a genuinely multidisciplinary approach. We can’t do it without them.
Despite the pause in 2011, the Future Forum, and the advice of many health professionals, it has become clear that the proposed legislation is both deeply flawed in detail and deeply troubling in its possible consequences. Our position is informed from the perspective of our members’ knowledge and commitment to the health and community services needed by older people. We are concerned that the Bill does not support the changes necessary to provide integrated, high quality consistent care for our ageing population and has a serious risk of undermining the progress made in recent years.
The BGS remains committed to work in partnership with all health and social care services to ensure our ageing population receives the best care possible. In our view the provisions in this Bill will be a step backwards in attempts to do this. We contributed at all stages of consultation including the outcomes framework and the Future Forum. But the PM’s latest selective summit on February 20th suggests that dissenting voices are no longer welcome. Hence we now call for the Bill to be entirely withdrawn and replaced with urgent discussions to shore up the disruption produced over the last 18 months.