Profile: Simon Lovett, Chief Allied Health Professional

5 Oct 2023, 9:10 p.m.

Chief Allied Health Professional (AHP) and Physiotherapist Simon Lovett is passionate about putting our AHPs and AHP Support Workers at the heart of our organisation

Although a physiotherapist by background, Simon provides leadership for the unique and diverse professions that are gathered under the Allied Health Professionals banner. There are 14 allied health professional roles, including occupational therapists, operating department practitioners (ODP), dietitians and therapeutic radiographers. While the professions are diverse, they all play a vital part in treating, rehabilitating and improving the lives of patients.

Photograph of Simon Lovett, Chief AHP

The new Chief AHP role at the Trust aims to give senior representation to AHPs at all levels of the organisation, ensuring their voices are heard and that they help design and contribute to the strategic direction of the Trust.

Throughout his leadership career, Simon has continued to maintain a clinical element to his work, so he is very much in touch with the pressures that our AHP workforce experiences on a day-to-day basis.

An inclusive approach to leadership

Simon prides himself on the inclusivity of his leadership style, where the importance of conversations and hearing other views is central.

He comments: "I have always believed that a collaborative and inclusive leadership approach is the best way to support service delivery and improve the lives of team members patients and their loved ones."

Simon considers listening one of his most important skills and says that this enables him to harness and drive forward the great ideas that come from within AHP teams.

He says: "Creating a culture of togetherness requires honesty, trust, respect, and active listening," adding, "I believe that one of my key personal attributes is my ability to bring people together, even when their starting positions or perspectives are in opposition, which I feel I have achieved in all my leadership roles to date."

I am committed to ensuring that my personal values drive me and those I lead in the right direction to ensure that all our work is centred on providing compassionate care.

Simon Lovett, Chief AHP

A journey through the NHS

Simon's career journey into physiotherapy followed a non-traditional route, which may be one of the reasons why he's so passionate about the vital role that AHP Support Workers play here at Gloucestershire Hospitals. Having started his career as a Therapy Support Worker, he soon became passionate about the tangible improvements that therapists can make to patient's lives, supporting them to live better.

Simon believes that while being a support worker can be a fulfilling career in its own right, there must also be clear opportunities and pathways for support workers to develop their capabilities and pursue professional and career development, saying, "Everyone should be supported to undertake development and see a pathway of opportunity... Whatever that may be."

Simon subsequently qualified as a registered physiotherapist with a special interest in neurology and rehabilitation and his career continued with several Clinical Specialist Therapist roles.

Simon's vision for AHPs

Simon has ambitious aspirations for our AHPs and AHP Support Workers and the pivotal role they will play in the future direction of our organisation.

He says: "Having worked in and led multi-professional and integrated Allied Health Professional (AHP) teams throughout my career, it has become increasingly clear that we as AHP’s often have the solutions to persistent problems in healthcare such as falls, nutrition and hydration, dementia care, system flow, readmission reduction and enabling people to live their best and healthiest lives.

"Although we are not fully there yet and can only truly achieve this through collaboration beyond our own professions, I feel this is the way that we as AHP’s can contribute and help the NHS to achieve outstanding care."

Simon is determined to work hard to support every AHP across the organisation and always leads from the front. He is the Trust's first Chief AHP and remains on the HCPC register as a physiotherapist.

It has become increasingly clear that we as AHP’s often have the solutions to some of the most challenging and persistent problems in healthcare to not only support service delivery but also improve the lives of team members, our patients and their loved ones.

Simon Lovett, Chief AHP