Suzanne Rastrick – Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, England
Suzanne qualified as an Occupational Therapist from Oxford. She began her career in the acute hospital sector, specialising in orthotics / biomechanics in the specialties of orthopaedics and rheumatology, before moving to practice in community services. She gained her first general management position as the matron of a community hospital, a role which at that time, would generally have been held by a registered nurse.
This and the experience of being the first Allied Health Professional (AHP) in England to hold a substantive Director of Nursing posts in both providing and commissioning organisations, has given Suzanne insights into multi-professional teams and interprofessional working.
She became the Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust on the south coast of England, where a highlight was having leadership responsibility for delivering health resilience and health ‘blue light’ services during the Olympic sailing events held in Dorset in 2012. She subsequently gained authorisation for development of a large Clinical Commissioning Group.
She was appointed as the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England in September 2014. She represents c.172,000 registered practitioners in 14 professions as the Governments principle advisor on AHP matters.
Her vision to utilise crowdsourcing in the development of the strategy AHPs into Action (NHS England, 2017) has been recognised as ground breaking in policy development. This strategy has supported the development of a policy framework in England to maximise AHP clinical leadership, skills acquisition and advanced practice – including plans for development of sonography as a direct entry profession, non-medical prescribing and radiographer reporting.
Since her mid-twenties Suzanne has held non-executive portfolios outside of the NHS, including audit committee chair roles, predominantly in the housing and charitable sector.
She was awarded an OBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to AHPs. Suzanne also holds honorary Doctorates from University of the West of England, Bristol and St. George’s Medical School, London. And was honoured with Fellowship of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in September 2019.