North Cumbria integrated Care NHS Trust (NCIC) has been celebrating its Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) as part of the national awareness day for the profession.

As part of the day, some of the innovative work that north Cumbria’s AHPs (occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech & language therapists) have been undertaking was celebrated such as helping ensure new and expectant mums can access mental health support and helping professionals understand when dizziness could be they sign of a stroke.

Events in Carlisle, Wigton, Keswick and Whitehaven enabled AHPs from a range of disciplines to showcase their work and how they have made changes to improve quality of their services.

Helen McGahon, associate director of AHPs said: “It was good to showcase some of the innovations our AHPs in north Cumbria are driving to improve the quality and experience of care for our people.  It demonstrated how AHPs are a vital workforce to deliver the new models of care required by the NHS Long Term Plan. Our AHPs work in specialised areas such as Perinatal, Stroke and Research.”

One of the speakers Dawn Lamb, advanced specialist physiotherapist in Acute Stroke and Neuro-Rehab presented about her work with stroke patients with dizziness. She explained how complicated this symptom is to diagnose. Dawn talked about the research she has done, which she has presented in Europe and her work with Dr Paul Davies, stroke consultant, to develop a flowchart to help staff identify when a person who has symptoms of dizziness is actually suffering from a stroke.

Another presentation from Katie Kerr, occupational therapist in Perinatal Mental Health, showcased the role of the Occupational Therapist in this newly developed service.  She explained how they work with other health professionals to identify mums to-be early in pregnancy to prevent the risk of them becoming unwell; agreeing a plan for their mental wellbeing during and after baby is born.

The event was a combination of presentations, workshops and posters showcasing the impact of AHPs and included occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech & language therapists from services across the Trust as well as students from the University of Cumbria.

Liz Nixon, occupational therapist from the Eden Integrated Care Community said: “It was a really interesting event, linking to services we wouldn’t normally see and learning about their work. It was useful to establish links and a chance to network. I will reflect on what I have learned for my own continued professional development.”

Feedback from students was also positive. Aoife Murphy a student with the University of Cumbria said: “It was a good informative day. I really enjoyed the presentation on the research about diagnosing stroke and perinatal mental health. As students we don’t usually get to hear about this kind of specialist work.”

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