AHP support worker role

Allied health care professionals and support workers

Allied Health Professions are: art therapists, dramatherapists, music therapists, chiropodists/podiatrists, dietitians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, osteopaths, prosthetists and orthotists, paramedics, physiotherapists, diagnostic radiographers, therapeutic radiographers, and speech and language therapists.

Across all the allied health professions, support workers make a significant contribution for service-users and service delivery.

The support workforce is defined as qualified but unregistered staff that provide care and support for patients and clients, working under supervision and within agreed guidelines and protocols.

In the NHS they are typically employed in Agenda for Change bands 2, 3 and 4. Support workers should be able to work at the top of their scope of practice safely and effectively, be integrated into teams, and be able to progress their careers. However, support staff can face several barriers to their effective development and deployment.

AHP support worker responsibilities can range from performing routine tasks, such as welcoming and preparing service users for treatment, to direct clinical and support tasks such as applying dressings and treatments or helping service users meet their care plans. Support workers are employed in the majority of AHP services, working with registered professionals and providing care and treatment, for example by:

AHP support worker tasks

Assiting service users with therapeutic dietary choices

Recording and analysing service users’ food and fluid intake

Support with enteral tube feeding

Taking and recording anthropometric measurements

Supporting service users in achieving their personal dietary goals

Delivering individual and group education in acute and community settings

Visual field testing

OCT scans of the reina and optic nerve

Vision testing on adults

Focimetry (measuring glasses)



Intraocular pressures

Biometry (pre-op cataract measurements)

Colour vision testing and history taking

Helping patients adapt to life after major surgeries such as hip replacement

Supporting children with disabilities taking part in school and play activities

Helping people living with dementia to develop strategies

Helping people living with mental illness get back into everyday activities such as work or volunteering

Supporting older people to stay in their homes by assessing and providing minor adaptions and equipment

Applying dressings and treatments

Booking appointments

Taking insole templates

Advising patients and their carers on foot health and footwear

Booking appointments and managing caseloads

Preparing communication therapy services

Providing therapy for patients after assessment by a registered SLT

Providing swallowing care plans

Providing dysphagia training to relatives, carers and ward staff

Supporting patients to talk after a head or neck injury

Modelling play and language activities


Helping dietitians assess, diagnose and treat service users’ dietary and nutritional problems

Assisting occupational therapists in supporting people to carry out everyday tasks

Helping people who need orthotics to support their limbs

Assisting physiotherapists in improving people’s mobility

Working with podiatrists to help care for patients with foot or ankle conditions

Using prosthetists designs to make artifical limbs

Radiography support workers assist diagnostic and therapautic radiographers support people through diagnose and treatment

Helping speech and language therapists monitor swallowing difficulties and carry out therapy interventions to support communications

Further information is available on the Health Education England website: