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Allied Health Professionals transforming health, care and wellbeing for autistic people and people with a learning disability

The NHS Long Term Plan included a renewed commitment to drive improvements to the care received by people with a learning disability, autism or both. Significant progress is being made and yet there is more to do to transform services across England.

This document shines a light on our allied health profession (AHP) colleagues. They are a vital part of our workforce, formed of 14 different professions and 170,000 members of staff: the third largest clinical workforce. AHPs play an important part in the shaping of care and future health systems, contributing important skills and the scope to transform care across systems.

Care by AHPs is delivered through the lifespan and across organisational boundaries, including primary care, community services, secondary care, education and justice systems. They have a significant role in the future delivery of learning disability and autism services, and we are encouraged by the examples of best practice, which show AHP leadership at its best.

This document has a wide range of impactful practice, including improving people’s access to mainstream services, the strengthening of specialist services such as reducing autism diagnostic waiting times and the designing of suitable housing so that people can stay living in their community with family and friends. The case studies are arranged according to their impacts: pages 3-15 showcasing AHPs supporting access to universal or mainstream services; and pages 16-29 shining a light on specialist AHP services.

We urge anyone looking to transform learning disability and autism services to consider our AHP workforce and use this document as a guide. The contribution of AHPs needs to be recognised and used if we want to achieve the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to help this community reach their full potential and deliver high quality care across England.

View the case studies: AHPs transforming health, care and wellbeing for autistic people and people with a learning disability