Allied Health Professions Education and Workforce Policy Review: Research Innovation and Relationships Subgroup minutes: July 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the subgroup on 5 July 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Anita Simmers, Council of Deans of Health
  • Alison Moore, Scottish Government
  • Anne Wallace, Scottish Government
  • Kim Lynch, Scottish Government
  • Abby Campbell, Scottish Government
  • Valerie Blair, NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Heather Cameron, Scottish Directors of AHPs (SDAHP)
  • Laura Neil, Scottish Directors of AHPs (SDAHP)
  • Kay Cooper, NHS Grampian/Robert Gordon University
  • Ruth Barn, Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland (AHPFS)
  • Judith Balfour, NHS Lothian
  • Peter McCrossan, Scottish Directors of AHPs (SDAHP)
  • David Hamilton, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Jenna Breckenridge, NHS Tayside/University of Dundee


  • Deirdre O’Flynn, Scottish Government
  • Peter Glover, NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Katrina Bannigan, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Wendy Cohen, Council for Allied Health Professions Research
  • Margot McBride, Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland (AHPFS)

Items and actions

Welcome from chair

Virtual introductions were made for all those attending. Members were asked to let secretariat know of anyone else who should be added to this group, including on an ad hoc basis. 

Welcome from Professor Carolyn McDonald, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for Scotland (CAHPO)

The CAHPO set the scene for this group and identified the links between this group and that of the research advisory group chaired by Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Professor Alex McMahon.

This group will focus on allied health profession (AHP) specific structures, what the current situation is and identify the direction for the future within education and the current workforce. The focus will be on research, innovation and leadership within education policy and this will feed into the overall strategic direction of the CNO and Council of Deans of Health multidisciplinary research advisory group as well as to the overall AHP Education and Workforce Policy Review.

Terms of reference (TOR)

The Research Innovation and Relationships subgroup will take forward specific actions identified by the National AHP Strategic Oversight Group, specifically to explore issues around this theme. The outputs of this group will be used to form recommendations for the AHP Education and Workforce Policy Review.  

The review is to be completed with high level recommendations provided by mid November 2022, advice will be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for approval by the end November 2022 and an implementation plan will be published thereafter.

Action point: 

  • members who volunteer to be deputy chair to contact secretariat by 8 August 2022 

The group discussed the TOR and the following was noted:

  • collaboration is required between higher education institutions (HEIs) but also NHS boards 
  • accessibly for all AHPs is an important factor 
  • a baseline is required to identify who is in this space now and who needs to be engaged with 
  • quality improvement is a form of research and should be included in this work
  • the group should consider wider innovation in the workforce and not just focus on academia. It was noted that the Workforce and Recruitment subgroup will include academic workforce 
  • there is currently a big gap between clinical practice and research and the research done prior to doctoral level should also be considered

Action points: 

  • research infrastructure to be added as a bullet point in the TOR topics by 8 August 2022 
  • TOR to be updated in line with group discussion by 8 August 2022 

Presentation: setting the scene for AHP education in Scotland

The presentation was given by Kay Cooper from NHS Grampian and Robert Gordon University. Discussion around the presentation suggested the following:

  • the key thing to consider is how to make research innovation feel accessible and for organisations to make a commitment to this
  • although funding has been given to this space, this has never been sustainable and therefore evaluation should be built into the group’s recommendation as this will be key to sustainability
  • culture should be considered with how to get inexperienced people the foot in the research door and how to keep those who already have research experience in both clinical and academic practice 
  • HEIs and boards mainly talk about pre-registration education and would benefit from their relationship shifting into the graduate space also 
  • there needs to be drivers to make research a priority, linking to the pillars of practice
  • staff need to be actively thinking and challenging work to allow for research innovation to occur 

Action point:

  • Scottish Government (SG) to share presentation with group by 8 August 2022 

Any other business

  • the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU) have good role models of AHPs who have gone on to be principal investigators on internationally funded projects and support AHPs at early middle and late stages of research careers 
  • there are links to the Embedded Research project relating to the idea of embedded research in health services 
  • a slide on an established history of developing research nursing, midiwfery and AHP capacity and capability in Scotland was shared to show the history of AHP research
  • the next meeting has been scheduled 8 August 2022 from 9.30am to 11am 

Action point:

  • SG to draft driver diagram by 8 August 2022
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