Pamela Vaughn then spoke about how Allied Health Professionals could play an ever increasing role in the treatment and management of some health conditions and that they were able to do this across systems and settings. She explained how a multidisciplinary team approach, that included consultant time to support it, had been setup to deliver care in the community for people with pulmonary disease in North Glasgow and had improved outcomes, reduced hospital admissions and reduced costs.
Pivotal to this was the notion that people didn’t always need to see a doctor and that other roles, such as Allied Health Professionals, with the support of a team could provide flexible, responsive expert care and disease management. She said that the evidence locally and elsewhere was that approaches like this can safely and effectively manage a whole range of conditions whilst reducing waiting times and the burden placed on consultants. Therefore as a workforce they could play a key role in transforming services.
The Group agreed that there needs to be wider recognition of with the public better informed about other expert non-doctor roles that can provide care and that often this can be delivered closer to or in people’s homes. They also liked how this was not only about managing and treating the consequences of ill health, but also looked to improve health. Key to this was explain it to the public in terms of the benefits using case studies with patient and staff experience to show the positive impact this had on people and the system, but also that this was evidence based and quality assured.
However, they also discussed and recognised the culture where doctors have been given responsibility for the expert on everything and the public’s view of them as the best person to see; and for this to change both sides need to let go of these notions. Also that if people were better informed then they might be empowered to ask for a specific service or support and not be reliant on someone making all the decision for them. Again the group agreed that key to this, as it was for many of the presentations they had heard was education that went across the whole system for those who receive and those who deliver care.