Allied Health Professions Education and Workforce Policy Review: Workforce and Recruitment Subgroup minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the subgroup on 17 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Kay Sandilands, NHS Lanarkshire
  • Anne Wallace, Scottish Government
  • Alison Moore, Scottish Government
  • Kim Lynch, Scottish Government
  • Abby Campbell, Scottish Government
  • Jo Vaughn, Scottish Government 
  • Lyndsay Turner, Scottish Government
  • Fiona Smith, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Paul Williams, NHS Borders
  • Kenryck Lloyd Jones, Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland (AHFS)
  • David Wylie, NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Anita Simmers, Council of Deans of Health
  • Glenn Carter, Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland (AHPFS)


  • Sean Torrens, Scottish Government 
  • Helen McFarlane NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Alistair Reid, Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)

Items and actions

Welcome and action points from previous meeting

It was noted that the minutes and highlight report of the previous Workforce and Recruitment meeting held on 11 July 2022 were agreed and will be published. It was noted that the Allied Health Professions (AHP) Education and Workforce Policy Review workspace has now been set up as a platform where the group can share, collaborate, and comment on documents.

Action point:

  • issue email to group on how to update email settings in the workspace by next meeting on 28 September 2022

Update on previously agreed action points:

  • arrange a presentation on the data futures pilot work ongoing around what is likely to be happening in terms of data in the future - in progress, Scottish Government (SG) have been given a contact who is leading on this project and will make contact to ask if they can present to this group
  • Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to put together a profile of how the data can be broken down to include summary table that shows attrition and also trends – complete, a version of this is with SG for review and a sample has been uploaded to the workspace
  • SG colleagues to discuss with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) whether there has been any discussions with The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) about being able to track students following graduation – ongoing, discussions around a data sharing agreement with HCPC discussions being held
  • members to reflect on the meeting and consider any gaps that have not already been covered – ongoing 
  • pick up attraction at a future meeting – on the agenda for this meeting 
  • SG to share presentation on workforce statistics slides with the group – complete, available on objective connect
  • Lyndsay to look at how general AHP data can be broken down further, taking into consideration profession specific issues – ongoing, someone in the SG pay team is working on an organigram looking across groups surrounding workforce and the links once resources in the team allow it
  • consider recommendations from the Gill Main Allied Health Professions Workforce Planning report and send report to members - report available on objective connect
  • link the discussions on workforce planning back to the driver diagram and be clear what workforce planning is and what the realistic level to start working at is by – ongoing 

Presentation on Physiotherapy Workforce Commitment  

Jo Vaughn, Scottish Government, presented on the Physiotherapy Workforce Commitment, summarised below:

  • as part of the Health and Social Care Integrated Workforce Plan 2019, SG in partnership with NES and collaboration with the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and NHS boards, introduced the MSc in Physiotherapy, pre-registration, scheme in 2021
  • initial planned implementation of 74 fees paid places per year was significantly hampered by COVID-19 and consequently placement issues
  • in 2021, 37 students were allocated places with participating NHS boards through a selection and interview process
  • a key aim is to pair students with boards offering the opportunity for employment in that area following students completing their studies
  • this is designed to support challenges in recruitment to meet workforce need particularly in areas above the central belt
  • for 2022 we expect up to 55 students to be offered places on the programme
  • monitoring of the student employment destination will be tracked to gather data to better understand the workforce

It was noted that lessons learned from this should be considered in order to upscale across all AHP professions. 

Geographical distribution of AHP workforce in Scotland was discussed and the following points were noted:

  • trying to place students in areas on conversion courses means them giving up employment and the cost of living may put people off this option. This includes health care support workers and therefore a priority should be having apprenticeships that lead to a registered post
  • a longer term aim may be for boards to work in partnership with HEIs, noting that just because a student trains in a particular area, does not necessarily mean they will chose to work there
  • could consider taking the work to where the workforce is which would mean a design of workforce planning
  • entry requirements for AHP students are very high which may lead to fewer successful applicants

It was agreed that there are therefore three parts of workforce planning which all need to be addressed to plan for the future:

  • recruitment
  • retention
  • redesign 

AHP workforce planning and education

The group have previously agreed that national workforce planning for AHPs is one of our aims. Discussion around whether this should be linked with education was had and the following points were noted:

  • education and workforce planning are fundamentally connected and we cannot address one without the other
  • local planning with AHPs and boards is critical
  • further education institutions (FEs), alongside HEIs, should be made more attractive as these provide a route to registration, noting that smaller professions may struggle to connect with FEs and HEIs as there are not as many available
  • AHP visibility in schools is poor and this may be picked up by the Education Solutions subgroup as they consider attraction into profession

Action point:

  • link in with the Education Solution subgroup about looking at entry requirements for AHPs students and how to create more diversity

Jamboard workshop

The group used a jamboard to consider how we ensure workforce is suitable throughout Scotland.

Action point:

  • SG to link thoughts from jamboard back to the group’s aims and drivers and to the Education Solutions subgroup by 28 September 2022 

Any other business

The next meeting has been scheduled for 28 September 1022 from 10am to 11.30am.

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