North East London Allied Health Professionals come together to celebrate national awards


On 13 October, and on the eve of #AHPDay, NHS England and NHS Improvement's Chief Allied Health Professional (AHP) Officer awards took place online and AHP professionals from North East London Health and Care Partnership (NEL HCP) came together to participate at the East London NHS Foundation Trust’s (ELFT) Robert Dolan House in Tower Hamlets.

Three NEL HCP finalists made it through to the award finals, including an entry from the NEL AHP’s Careers Ambassador’s Project in the Leadership for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion category.

They were joined by ELFT Chief Executive Officer, Paul Calaminus, NHS North East London Chief Nursing Officer, Diane Jones, and NHS North East London Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Gilluley, who all took part in the online interactive event.

The room rang out with applause with the announcement that Bill Leaning, Clinical Manager and Senior Flight Paramedic with the Physician Response Unit from Barts Health NHS Trust, was the winner of the AHP Innovation and Improvement in Integrated Care Systems award for his work to improve patient safety and wellbeing.

Another colleague from Barts who made the finals was Graeme Syme, Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian, nominated for the AHP Digital Practice award.

The NEL AHP Ambassador’s Project, created and coproduced alongside Care City, with the NEL AHP Council and Faculty, was established in 2021 with the aim to make the AHP workforce more representative of the communities in which they work.

Across the year, 40 BAME AHP Career Ambassadors set out to engage and energise the local community with a multi-media campaign, an online conference, the creation of a dedicated careers website and outreach work in schools and other community hubs.

A focus early in 2021 was the planning and creation of a five-story high piece of public art, celebrating the work of AHPs in Leyton.

The stunning public mural was unveiled to the public in December 2021, an enigmatic representation of a member of the Tower Hamlets based Gardening for Health Group.

Despite not winning, Suhailah Mohamed, Occupational Therapist and NHS England’s Head of AHPs and a member of the BAME Career Ambassador’s Project entry said: “We are all incredibly proud to get this far. Out of 24 nominations we were part of a shortlist of just four. It’s a celebration of everything that north east London stands for – the diversity of our populations, and our unity and cohesion.”

NHS North East London Chief Nursing Officer, Diane Jones, said: “I’m incredibly proud of all our colleagues that made it through to the finals, as well as our north east London AHP workforce as a whole. It’s a diverse range of professions that come under that umbrella, and all of them really are the life-force of our NHS. Without them there wouldn’t be an NHS!”

NHS North East London Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Gilluley, said: “Congratulations to Bill for winning. That was as very well deserved award, but congratulations also to both Graeme and the BAME Careers Ambassadors – all of you are doing incredible work, and are a shining example of the standards of excellence that define the regional and national AHP family.”

Stephen Sandford AHP Lead at ELFT said: "It was a joy to host this event for NEL AHPs, their commitment to service user care and innovation knows no bounds!"