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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Allied Health Professions (AHP) expands practice education workforce

Allied Health Professions (AHP) expands practice education workforce

Allied Health Professions (AHP) expands practice education workforce

NES is expanding its AHP Practice Education network thanks to new funding from Scottish Government. The additional posts are a response to:

  • the increase in the overall volume of student practice-based placements
  • the growth in students arising from the new paramedic degree programmes which began in September 2020 and
  • ongoing COVID recovery work, at a uni-professional level, covering all 14 of the AHP professions (arts therapies, diagnostic radiography, dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, orthotics, paramedics, physiotherapy, podiatry, prosthetics, speech and language therapy, therapeutic radiography) to identify new opportunities, barriers and challenges in the delivery of practice-based educational experiences

The AHP PEL network includes each health board in Scotland. The new funding brings an additional 5.8 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts to the existing allocation of 11.0 WTE posts. NES funds these posts while local health boards are the employers.

AHP Practice Education relies on PELs and local networks, across Scotland, to:

  • enhance the quality and quantity of practice education for pre-registration AHP students
  • support practice placements in AHP programmes
  • explore new models of student practice-based learning experiences such as project-based placements and simulated placements
  • ensure students’ practice placements meet their learning needs
  • support a whole range of work-based learning initiatives across the entire AHP workforce including AHP support and supervision, careers, return to practice and clinical skills

The new funding also enables the creation of a further 7.2 WTE PEL secondment posts until March 2023. In these roles PELs will:

  • work within their uniprofessional network to identify new opportunities, barriers, and challenges in relation to how NES delivers AHP education
  • investigate what factors are essential to restore, sustain and renew practice education for the future and current workforce

Expanding the network also includes an additional 1.6 WTE AHP senior educator posts to compliment the existing 2 WTE. These posts help co-ordinate the delivery of the practice education workplan, while providing ongoing support and supervision to the wider infrastructure.

Helen Mcfarlane, Head of Programme, AHP Practice Education, said:

“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on how we deliver AHP practice education and support students’ practice placements. The new posts we create from the funding will enable us to take forward much needed work to improve and diversify the practice education experiences we can offer.”


July, 20 2021