AHPs Day

On 14 October, we celebrated Allied Health Professions’ Day. This year also marks 21 years since allied health professionals (AHPs) became a professional workforce in Scotland.

To help you learn about each of the AHP roles, we've launched 3 new careers resources, in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland! These resources include an animation, a downloadable careers guide, and a poster, explaining who AHPs are and what they do.

Watch the animation below to find out more.

Did you know there are 14 different allied health professions or AHP careers in Scotland?

It's not just doctors and nurses who have a vital role in caring for patientsin the NHS. There is a wide variety of AHP jobs on offer, from creative art, music, and dramatherapists, to the more practical prosthetists and orthotists.

Are you creative? A career as an art, music, or dramatherapist might suit your skills. You'd help people express their feelings and emotions using creative activities, which can be a less confusing or distressing way for them to communicate.

How about a more practical job? Prosthetists design, make, and fit artificial limbs for people with arms or legs missing at birth, or those who lose limbs through accident, injury, or amputation.

This is a career to think about if you're interested in science, design, and technology.

Orthotists treat, support, and care for people with weakened joints or mobility problems caused by accident, injury, or disease. You can be an orthotist making and fitting splints, braces, and special footwear for patients to help improve their movement and reduce pain.

Another practical and hands-on job is a podiatrist. As a podiatrist, you'd diagnose and treat mobility and medical conditions of the feet and lower limbs to improve your patients' quality of life.

Most AHP jobs are never the same 2 days running. For paramedics, who respond to accidents and medical emergencies, this is very true. If you became a paramedic, you'd also be trained to assess and manage less serious illnesses and injuries, often providing care to people in their own homes.

You might have heard of physiotherapists, but did you know it's not all about sports injuries. As a physiotherapist, you could work in intensive care or on a ward helping stroke or cancer patients. You could also visit people at home, helping them with exercises to increase their muscle strength and activation after surgery.

You can be an occupational therapist helping people overcome the effects of disabilities caused by physical injury, ageing, or mental illness. You'd make changes to their environment or help them find new ways to do the things they need and want to do. Like other AHPs, occupational therapists work in different locations, including hospitals and people's homes. They often care for children and adults with complex needs.

Did you know you can have an impact on people's health and well-being by becoming a dietitian? You'd help people with nutritional problems, giving practical advice about food and diet, so they make good lifestyle and food choices.

You can be a radiographer. In the NHS, we have diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers. The difference? Well, diagnostic radiographers capture images of the inside of the body using a range of imaging techniques and specialist technology. You'd play a vital role in helping diagnose and monitor patients' illnesses or injuries.

Therapeutic radiographers use high energy radiation to treat cancer and tumours. You'd be involved at all stages of patients' cancer journeys.

What about helping people with communication, eating, drinking, and swallowing problems? As a speech and language therapist, you'd provide treatment and care for people of all ages with these issues. If you like languages and sciences, this could be the career for you.

You can be an orthoptist carrying out tests to diagnose visual impairments related to eye movement and the way the eyes interact with the brain. You'd prescribe treatments for these conditions, including eye patches, eye exercises, or glasses.

Hopefully now you know what an AHP is and what a career as one might look like.

If you think you could be an AHP, head to our website to find out more.


Celebrating AHPs Day

AHPs Day is a social movement that started in October 2018. It gives us the chance to showcase what AHPs do, the impact they make in delivering high-quality care, and how they integrate and collaborate with other services and organisations. It's also an opportunity for you to learn about each AHP role. 

Our resources include:

  • an animation
  • a careers guide
  • a poster

The animation and careers guide provide an overview of each AHP role. You'll find information about education pathways and routes to a rewarding AHP career on our poster.

Come back to NHSScotland!

We're also providing support for qualified AHPs who wish to re-register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The AHP return to practice programme contains all the information, guidance, and support you need to step back into your career today. If you are a qualified AHP and you'd like to know more, visit the AHP return to practice programme page.

Who are AHPs?

AHPs are our third largest clinical workforce. They provide therapeutic and diagnostic support services. There are 14 different AHP professions in Scotland, including:

  • creative therapies, such as art, music and dramatherapists
  • prosthetists, who design, make, and fit artificial limbs
  • orthotists, who treat, support, and care for people with weakened joints or mobility problems

A career as an AHP is varied. AHPs work in health and social care, housing, education, prison services, and the third and independent sectors to ensure the best outcomes for service users.

Discover our AHP careers

Innovative and diverse AHP roles

Looking for career inspiration? Our new guide tells you all you need to know about our 14 AHP professions.

AHP careers education pathways

Download our AHP education pathway poster to discover your route to a rewarding AHP career.