Allied Health Professionals

Allied Health Professionals play a part in contributing to the delivery of more integrated, seamless care for patients and communities.

Working as an allied health professional you will be fully integrated into patient care and play an important role in helping patients in Dorset to self-manage themselves and live their healthiest lives. You will be part of the third largest workforce of the NHS and make a significant contribution to the lives of people in Dorset, making this a really special role. There are a number of opportunities for you to help support the greater Dorset community as an allied health professional in roles such as dieticians, paramedics, podiatrists and occupational therapists to name a few.

AHP staff help prevent, diagnose and treat illness using their knowledge of science and their technical skills. They expertise helps save lives and improve patient care in a either supporting role, such as pathologists, or in direct contact with patients, for instance physiotherapists.

AHPs play in improving care for patients, streamlining services, and supporting NHS staff. As we move towards delivering more integrated health and care, closer to home and out of hospital, the role of AHPs has never been more important.

A career in the allied health professions makes you highly employable, allows you to help people every day and gives you the flexibility to live and work anywhere.

The 14 allied health professions

Find out more about the fourteen allied health professions:

Art therapists use art as a form of psychotherapy to encourage clients to explore a variety of issues including emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions or physical illnesses.

Podiatrists provide essential assessment, evaluation and foot care for a wide range of patients with a variety of conditions both long term and acute. Many of these fall into high risk categories such as patients with diabetes, cerebral palsy, peripheral arterial disease and peripheral nerve damage where podiatric care is of vital importance.

Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level.

Drama therapists are both clinicians and artists that draw on their knowledge of both theatre/drama and therapy to use performance arts as a medium for psychological therapy.

Music therapists engage clients in live musical interaction so as to promote an individual’s emotional wellbeing and improve their communication skills.

Occupational therapists (OTs) work in the NHS, local authority social care services, housing, schools, prisons, voluntary and independent sectors, and vocational and employment rehabilitation services as well as in education and research. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages with a wide range of problems resulting from physical, mental, social or developmental difficulties.

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are highly skilled healthcare practitioners that support patients of all ages during each phase of the patient’s perioperative care:

  • Anaesthetic – provide patient-centred care and prepare specialist equipment and drugs
  • Surgical – prepare all the necessary equipment and instruments for operations and providing these to the surgical team during the operation
  • Recovery – supporting the patient throughout their time in the recovery ward, assessing vitals and fitness for return to the ward

Orthoptists help premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity, children with reduced vision due to squint, adults and children with eye movement defects due to diabetes, hypertension, endocrine dysfunction, cancer, trauma and stroke. Extended scope orthoptic practitioners now work in high volume ophthalmic specialities such as glaucoma, cataract and age related macular degeneration.

Osteopaths take a holistic view of the structure and function of the body to diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions.  Their work is centered on the principle that the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues of an individual need to function smoothly together so as to maintain wellbeing.

Paramedics are the senior ambulance service healthcare professionals at an accident or a medical emergency. Often working by themselves, paramedics are responsible for assessing the patient’s condition and then giving essential treatment. They use high-tech equipment such as defibrillators, spinal and traction splints and intravenous drips, as well as administering oxygen and drugs.

College of Paramedics launches video to promote diversity in the Paramedic Profession

Physiotherapy uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, working through partnership and negotiation with individuals to optimise their functional ability and potential.

Prosthetists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with limb loss. Their qualifications make them competent to design and provide prostheses that replicate the structural or functional characteristics of the patients absent limb.

Orthotists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with problems of the neuro, muscular and skeletal systems. Their qualifications make them competent to design and provide orthoses that modify the structural or functional characteristics of the patients’ neuro-muscular and skeletal systems enabling patients to mobilise, eliminate gait deviations, reduce falls, reduce pain, prevent and facilitate the healing of ulcers.

Diagnostic radiographers use a range of techniques to produce high quality images to diagnose an injury or disease. Therapeutic radiographers play a vital role in the treatment of cancer. They are also responsible as they are the only health professionals qualified to plan and deliver radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is used either on its own or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy.

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) in the UK work with children and adults to help them overcome or adapt to a vast array of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing.