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Allied Health Professionals Day

Today (Monday 15 October) is the first ever Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) Day – an opportunity for the 14 allied health professions to come together to focus on their brilliant work and celebrate their skills.

Here at Leeds Community Healthcare we are extremely proud of our own AHPs and want to shine a light on their crucial work and achievements by profiling a few of them…


Julia Dixon

Who do you care for?

I work with adults aged 18 upwards who have a learning disability.

Describe what you do.

I work with people around their communication, eating and drinking needs. This often involves care coordination and working in a multi-agency way. Part of my job is to support people with learning disabilities to access mainstream services - creativity and thinking on the spot is a must! We are always looking at ways to get the balance right between clinical recommendations, what is important to the person and what will impact positively on their quality of life.

How long have you worked for the NHS?

It's scary to realise that I've worked for the NHS for 12-and-a-half years! Time has really flown!

What do you enjoy most about your role as an AHP?

I enjoy working with my AHP colleagues every day. In my experience, as a collective we are a forward thinking, problem solving, extremely caring bunch. I enjoy the range of AHPs I work with who bring a wealth of skills to service user care. I think the way in which AHPs work in a multidisciplinary way is not only invaluable to the team but also service users and their families.

Describe your proudest moment.

I worked with a family who did not speak English and were limited in their support networks. The service user had significant eating and drinking difficulties which had a negative impact on his physical health and social opportunities. I worked alongside the multi-disciplinary team, adult social care and interpreters to support the service user to resolve his eating and drinking difficulties and be able to access meaningful day time occupation. Outcomes for his physical health and social opportunities were greatly improved and the family feel more supported in meeting his needs. 

Julia Dixon

Speech and Language Therapist

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust


Tessa Knowles

Who do you care for? 

I care for service users living in the community with nutritional concerns and needs. Their conditions include but are not limited to: COPD, IBS, Type 2 Diabetes and Enteral feeding (tube feed).

Describe what you do.

I am a community dietitian, providing care for adults with and without enteral feeding. I work in collaboration with dietetic assistants, company nurses and other community services to assess and support the nutritional status of patients. We work in clinics, care homes and patients' own homes.

How long have you worked for the NHS?

Just over two years.

What do you enjoy most about your role as an AHP?

I enjoy tackling issues and improving the nutritional impact of a variety of complex clinical conditions. My role often involves a multidisciplinary team approach. I enjoy having the opportunity to provide a better quality of life for service users and to help them to smile through what can be difficult circumstances.

Describe your proudest moment.

Having the opportunity to play a part in the success and progress of dietetic students, witnessing them develop their skills and build the experience needed to gain their Registered Dietitian status and HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registration.

Tessa Knowles

Community Dietitian

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust


Jill Laurillard

Who do you care for?

I care for children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).

Describe what you do.

I support children and young people with SLCN in mainstream primary and secondary schools.  I’m a Makaton Regional Tutor and part of the Children’s Speech and Language Therapy (CSLT) Practitioner Training Team.

I love the fact that my days are so varied! One day I might be visiting children in schools, completing assessments, talking to parents about their concerns, modelling therapy activities to school staff or completing therapy interventions with children.

I could be delivering citywide training on different aspects of speech, language and communication or delivering Makaton training in places such as private nurseries. I might be developing training materials, talking to organisations about their training needs and of course writing reports, support plans and setting targets for children with SLCN. 

How long have you worked for the NHS?

Since 2002 (16 years)!

What do you enjoy most about your role as an AHP?

I enjoy being out and about in different settings, getting to know and supporting amazing children and young people, and working together with families and schools.

Describe your proudest moment.

When a child used Makaton signs and symbols to participate in a whole school assembly with his friends! It’s so lovely to hear that the Makaton training I’ve delivered has made a difference to a child.

It meant that the school put loads of things in place to ensure that this child was included in everything and the school became a truly inclusive communication-friendly setting. He was able to stand with his friends in an assembly in front of the whole school community and join in like everyone else - it brought a tear to everyone’s eye apparently. It made me feel as if I can make a difference to a child’s life.

#wetalkmakaton

Jill Laurillard

MRCSLT, Reg HCPC

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Children's Speech and Language Therapy Service

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

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