Allied Health Professionals Jane, Lorna and Pauline of NHS Ayrshire and Arran share their experience building relationships between the third sector and the NHS.
Hi, we are Jane, Lorna and Pauline, three Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) working for NHS Ayrshire and Arran who took a plunge into the unknown. In 2014 we put our size 10 walking boots on to take a romp into what is now known as the ‘Third Sector’ but which was previously known as the ‘Voluntary Sector’.
We had keys links with Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, Health and Social Care Alliance, Scotland (ALLIANCE) and Age Scotland who welcomed us in – as did all the Third Sector organisations we approached.
What led us to dip our toes in? We successfully applied for a NES AHP Career Fellowship which allowed funding for practicalities like funding our time to learn and develop. This meant while we were involved in learning activities with the Third Sector, we knew the people who receive our AHP services were not being left without a service. The aim of the Fellowship was to improve AHP’s knowledge, understanding and relationships with the Third Sector to support more effective cross sector working, facilitating co productive working.
What did we do?
- We asked lots of questions.
- We met with many people who work or are closely linked with the Third Sector.
- We went to cross party working groups at Scottish Government.
- We met and listened to people who benefit from the Third Sector.
- We attended conference events.
- We embraced technology by blogging and podcasting.
What did we learn?
- The depth and breadth of expertise that lies behind the ‘charity shop front’.
- The Third sector is out there delivering first class and innovative person-centred care and often when other services have finished.
- The Third Sector is embedded at a strategic level, for example in shaping policy at Scottish Government level and in developing National Guidelines.
- The range of key roles and opportunities available for AHPs in the Third Sector.
- As AHPs and with our service users we can all benefit from truly working co productively.
As a result of our improved links with the third sector we have already been able to develop a number of initiatives which will continue in to the future, supporting our service users to live fuller lives in the community, this has included a new an Inreach Communication Group in affiliation with CHSS as well as a Multi Morbidity bid to the Integration Fund to improve access to physical activity and self management options for the people of Ayrshire and Arran.
As our fellowship draws to a close we need to keep our walking boots on with an embedded foot firmly in the Third Sector. Our role will be to share our new knowledge, encourage others to dip a toe in and to initiate change.
We all need to find out what is happening on our doorsteps, take time to build new relationships and develop meaningful partnerships.
We need to see it as our job.
Take a plunge with us.
If you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact us by e mail: