Anthea Mould, NIHR Clinical Research Network, Head of Allied Health Professionals

Our new strategy will help Allied Health Professionals blaze a trail in the world of research


Anthea Mould, NIHR Clinical Research Network, Head of Allied Health Professionals

Date: 05 February 2018

“My research team are my warriors in my battle against this disease” — I’m struggling to find a more powerful endorsement of research staff (of research itself, in fact) than this one, offered by a recent study participant.

We know research matters and that it can mean better treatments and improved care. We know too that the difference it makes can be truly life changing. What’s more is the feeling of togetherness and comradeship that the research process often generates: patients and staff, all in it together.

And right now, across England, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) are one part of a research workforce standing shoulder to shoulder with patients taking part in research. For some patients it will be their first foray into research; others will be old hands. But whatever their experience of research, they can rest assured, AHPs are making critical contributions to the development and delivery of high quality, patient centred clinical research.

AHPs represent the third largest professional workforce in health and social care. Dieticians, Paramedics or Physiotherapists; Radiographers, Osteopaths or Art Therapists — these are just some of the 14 AHP roles.

So where does our new strategy fit in?

AHPs are vital to bringing research into the lives of patients and the public. The purpose of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Allied Health Professionals Strategy 2018-2020 is simple: to support Allied Health Professionals working with, and for, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) to do just that. The strategy is about developing visible leaders across the CRN and building a confident and capable AHP workforce that is research active and keen to embrace new technology and innovation.

Put simply, we want AHPs to blaze a trail in research. And so long as the NIHR want to attract, develop and retain the best research professionals to conduct people based research, realising the potential of Allied Health Professionals is crucial. Our strategy will help achieve this.

The strategy sets out five strategic goals focusing on leadership, research capacity and capability, patient and public access to research, innovation, and building partnerships. It reflects the NIHR mission, draws on the experiences of those working across the CRN and take into account the views of strategic partners, including the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR). It also complements existing NIHR reports and also seeks to build on initiatives led by partners, such as NHS England’s ‘Allied Health Professions into Action’.

Allied Health Professionals are already leading research. They are working in a breadth of roles, driving best practice, and linking in with a wide range health and social care networks. This strategy looks to build on that strong foundation, to increase support for AHPs and strengthen their impact across the health and research system.

Watch this space then for our AHP research trailblazers!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care.
  • Summary:
    Anthea Mould writes how a new NIHR strategy looks to build on the vital role that Allied Health Professionals play in delivering high quality, patient centred clinical research and how they can blaze a trail in the world of research.
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    Anthea Mould, NIHR Clinical Research Network, Head of Allied Health Professionals

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