#WeAHPs - Thursday 29th July 2021 8pm (GMT Standard Time) Our role as AHPs in tackling health inequalities

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Hosted by WeAHPs using #WeAHPs

This chat is guest hosted by @kelly_holehouse @HindleLinda

With over 4 million client contacts every week, AHPs hold tremendous power to tackle health inequalities. The AHP community has played an important role in the efforts to face and overcome COVID-19.  The challenge as we move forward is to consider our role in minimising health inequalities within our communities.From small steps to big efforts, every person’s contributions will count, and together we know that we can make a difference to improving population health.

To support AHPs to maximise our contribution Public HealthEngland, NHS England and Improvement and the 14 Allied Health ProfessionalBodies have worked with The King’s Fund to develop a framework  (My role in tackling health inequalities: a framework for allied health professionals’) to help any AHP consider their role in tackling health inequalities.

Whatever your role, seniority, specialism or interest, the framework supports you to consider your role through 6 lenses:

  • you as an individual,
  • your role in caring for individuals,
  • being a part of a team and service,
  • your involvement with communities and networks,
  • your involvement in the wider health and care system,
  • and your efforts to nurture the future.

For each of these six aspects the framework encourages a focus on what AHPs need to know, the actions to take and their role as an advocate.

The global pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing health inequalities. Members of disadvantaged communities have been shown to be more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and to ultimately die of the virus. In addition, the indirect impact of the pandemic will be more severe on these communities, through its long-term impact on healthcare services, the economy and mental health.

The AHP community has played an important role in the efforts to face and overcome COVID-19.  The challenge as we move forward is to consider our role in minimising health inequalities within our communities and we want to continue the conversation amongst Allied Health Professionals in this tweet chat about the role of AHPs in tackling Health Inequalities.

Here is a summary of what we mean by Health Inequalities:

Health inequalities are ‘unfair and avoidable differences in health across populations and between different groups within society’ (The Kings Fund 2020). This can refer to differences in people’s health status’ as well as the differences in opportunities to access and the type and quality of care that are accessible.

People sometimes think that the concept of health inequalities relates only to people working at population level and not practitioners who focus mainly on the care of individuals. But there is growing recognition that this is not the case. It is something that affects every one of us whatever our role, and each of us can make a difference, by supporting the individual person you’re caring for better, and by seeing that that person is part of their community, and the population. Whatever change is made, at the individual, service, community or wider level will impact on population health by reducing inequalities.

We hope you can join us for a conversation with no right or wrong answers and take this opportunity to connect and share experiences with colleagues from across the AHP community as we discuss the following questions:

Q1: First of all, can you tell us what Health Inequalities (HI) means to you? And what role do you think AHPs can play in tackling HI?

Q2: Health Inequalities are everyone’s business - the AHP community can make a huge difference. We would love to hear some of the ways you are currently contributing and taking action

Q3: What do you feel are the biggest challenges we face as AHPs in addressing health inequalities? How have you approached these challenges in your role and where do you go to for support?

Q4: The Kings Fund framework suggests 3 different ways of thinking about your approach to tackling HI. The first is Awareness. Where do you feel the current gaps in knowledge/skills exist and how do we address this?

Q5: The Kings Fund framework, considers advocacy to be a key aspect of tackling HI and embedding equity into practice. What do you feel is the best way #AHPs can champion the needs of individuals, communities and the population?

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