Allied Health Professions

The 14 professions within Allied Health Professions (AHPs) work as an holistic approach to healthcare, providing the appropriate care throughout the patients life.  We’ve put together a short guide to each different specialty:

Oc Therpists

Occupational Therapists

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Occupational therapists (OTs) work in the NHS, local authority social care services, housing, schools, prisons, voluntary and independent sectors, and vocational and employment rehabilitation services as well as in education and research. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages with a wide range of problems resulting from physical, mental, social or developmental difficulties.

OTs support people with a range of interventions to enable them to return to or optimise participation in all the things that people do.



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Diagnostic radiographers use a range of techniques to produce high quality images to diagnose an injury or disease. Diagnostic imaging is a component of the majority of care pathways.

Therapeutic radiographers play a vital role in the treatment of cancer. Working as a team, they are also the only healthcare professionals qualified to plan and deliver radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is used either on its own or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy.



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Podiatrists provide essential assessment, evaluation and foot care for a wide range of patients with a variety of conditions both long term and acute. Many of these fall into high risk categories such as patients with diabetes, cerebral palsy, peripheral arterial disease and peripheral nerve damage where podiatric care is of vital importance.

Podiatrists work in both the community and acute settings and while many are employees of the NHS many podiatrists now provide healthcare services in the private sector.



Physiotherapy uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, working through partnership and negotiation with individuals to optimise their functional ability and potential.

Physiotherapist’s role is vital in treating a variety of conditions including neuro – muscular, Musculoskeletal, cardio -vascular and respiratory systems. Physiotherapist work in a number of different environments such as acute hospitals, Mental Health Inpatient facilities, community settings, specialist rehabilitation centres, third sector serviced and Private/ commercial settings.

Other useful links:


CSP Groups and Networks



Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level.

Uniquely, dietitians use the most up–to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.


Speech and Language Therapists

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) in the UK work with children and adults to help them overcome or adapt to a vast array of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing.

These include helping young children to access education, reducing life-threatening swallowing problems in the early days after stroke and providing essential support to adults with a range of acquired neurological communication difficulties to help them return to work, and their roles in their family and society.



Paramedics are the senior ambulance service healthcare professionals at an accident or a medical emergency. Often working by themselves, paramedics are responsible for assessing the patient’s condition and then giving essential treatment. They use high-tech equipment such as defibrillators, spinal and traction splints and intravenous drips, as well as administering oxygen and drugs.

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Operating Department Practitioners

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Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are highly skilled healthcare practitioners that support patients of all ages during each phase of the patient’s perioperative care:

  • Anaesthetic – provide patient-centred care and prepare specialist equipment and drugs
  • Surgical – prepare all the necessary equipment and instruments for operations 
  • Recovery – supporting the patient in the recovery ward, assessing fitness for return to the ward


ODPs are responsible for preparing the operating theatre and maintaining communication between the surgical team, operating theatre, and wider hospital. There skills are increasingly being needed in other critical care areas within a hospital.

Art Therapist

Art Therapists

Art therapists use art as a form of psychotherapy to encourage clients to explore a variety of issues including emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions or physical illnesses.

Drama Therapists

Drama Therapists

Dramatherapists are both clinicians and artists that draw on their knowledge of both theatre/drama and therapy to use performance arts as a medium for psychological therapy.  Clients are able to explore a wide variety of different issues and needs from autism and dementia to physical/sexual abuse and mental illness in an indirect way leading to psychological, emotional and social changes.

Dramatherapists can be found in many settings such as schools, mental health care, general health social care, prisons and in the voluntary sector.


Music Therapists

Music therapists engage clients in live musical interaction so as to promote an individual’s emotional wellbeing and improve their communication skills.  

Music therapy is an effective intervention for those clients who cannot speak due to disability, illness or injury as their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs can be addressed through the musical interaction with their therapist.



Orthoptic clinical practice encompasses both diagnosis and treatment and is wide ranging. Orthoptists help premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity, children with reduced vision due to squint, adults and children with eye movement defects due to diabetes, hypertension, endocrine dysfunction, cancer, trauma and stroke. Extended scope orthoptic practitioners now work in high volume ophthalmic specialities such as glaucoma, cataract and age related macular degeneration.

Orthoptists work in acute hospital and community settings in health and education often as part of a multi-disciplinary medical, nursing and AHP team.



Osteopaths take a holistic view of the structure and function of the body to diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions.  Their work is centered on the principle that the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues of an individual need to function smoothly together so as to maintain wellbeing.

Osteopaths use a number of non-invasive treatments such as touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to restore bodily equilibrium through increasing the mobility of joints, relieving muscle tension, enhancing blood and nerve supply to tissues, and encouraging an individual’s own healing mechanisms.


Prosthetics and Orthotists

Prosthetists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with limb loss. They are extensively trained in mechanics, bio-mechanics, and material science along with anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. They work closely with physiotherapists and occupational therapists as part of multidisciplinary amputee rehabilitation teams. 

Orthotists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with problems of the neuro, muscular and skeletal systems. They are extensively trained in mechanics, bio-mechanics, and material science along with anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. They often form part of multidisciplinary teams such as within the diabetic foot team or neuro-rehabilitation team.

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