To coincide with allied health profession (AHP) week 2017, local health and care providers are marking the innovative and compassionate care that allied health professions provide for local people across the district with a celebration event hosted at the Mercure Bradford Bankfield Hotel on 29 November.

Making a positive difference to people’s lives, the day will celebrate the work of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

Allied health professions within these organisations on the day include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, paramedics, radiographers, art therapists, operating department practitioners, prosthetists and orthoptists, that are all supporting communities across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.

Amongst those at the event on the day will be Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Kirsty Shepard, Occupational Therapist in the Primary Care Wellbeing Team.

The primary care wellbeing team from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is an innovative service which incorporates a number of professions into one service including a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a dietician, psychologists and a personal support navigator. The team works with people with complex health needs to take a more holistic approach to their health and look at managing their physical and emotional wellbeing differently.

Speaking about her experience of working in the team, Kirsty said: “I work with patients to look at their overall quality of life and what they value, allowing and helping them to work towards things that are important to them. We work together to look at things like adaptations, whether these be to the patient’s home, so they can continue cooking, or helping them to develop new skills so that they can try something new.

“I have been working with a patient who suffers with a complex pain problem, meaning that she is in constant pain and is a wheelchair user. Whilst working together I discovered that she is a keen photographer but hadn’t had much luck in finding an accessible photography group. I contacted the Trust’s Champions Show the Way service, who have encouraged her to become a photography volunteer with them.

“The patient has described herself as ‘still being in pain but it makes it worth it’ as she has found a ‘new sense of meaning in her life’ thanks to the group.”

Kirsty has been an occupational therapist with the Trust for nine years, previously working as an occupational therapist with the homeless and new arrivals team at the Trust.

The day will also celebrate the achievements of other allied health professions across the district, including Claire Fernyhough, a speech and language therapist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Claire specialises in working with adults who have, or have had, head and neck cancers.

Claire said: “My role is to assess, diagnose and manage any speech and swallowing difficulties that patients may have following their treatment, whether that’s surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

“As a speech and language therapist, I try to look holistically at the patient rather than just at their impairments. This means that as well as dealing with the physical problems, I may also be dealing with the psychological and emotional aspects.”

Earlier this year a joint head and neck clinic started at Airedale Hospital which includes Claire as a speech and language therapist, a Macmillan nurse specialist and a dietitian from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. About the clinic Claire, said: “Working closely with this team has resulted in skill sharing, improved communication and a ‘one-stop’ clinic for the patient. Feedback from patients has been very positive’”

Suzanne Rastrick, NHS England Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, is attending the event as a key-note speaker. The event will also include stands, interactive displays, presentations, facilitated huddles and a question and answer panel.