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Event celebrates pioneering programme for therapy practitioners

An event to celebrate the successful conclusion of a pilot programme for therapy practitioners at Hywel Dda University Health Board was held on Friday evening at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

The Therapy Assistant Practitioner (TAP) Diploma is the first of its kind in Wales and is a collaboration between UWTSD, Hywel Dda, Agored Cymru and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), the strategic workforce body for NHS Wales.

Following the successful pilot, the programme is now being offered across Wales via the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Framework through Coleg Sir Gar. Participants already enrolled onto the programme are from Aneurin Bevan, Cardiff and Vale; Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Powys and Swansea Bay University Health Boards, as well as Hywel Dda.

Twelve participants from Hywel Dda University Health Board successfully completed the pilot programme in September from the disciplines of Neuro TAP service, Physiotherapy. Occupational Therapy, Dietetics and Podiatry.  The programme, which is delivered online, comprised seven Level 4 Agored Cymru modules:

  • The role of the Therapy Assistant Practitioners (TAP)
  • Developing therapeutic relationships
  • Science underpinning practice
  • Demonstrating practical skills
  • The promotion of health and wellbeing
  • Research and evidence based practice
  • Clinical decision making

The 18-month programme was established following discussions between HEIW and NHS Wales, which identified the need to provide development opportunities for assistant practitioners in therapies.

The celebration event was held on Friday, 19 January at the University’s Carmarthen campus which enabled the partnership to come together in person for the first time and for students showcase their work.

Professor Wendy Dearing, Dean of UWTSD’s Institute of Management and Health said: “I’m delighted that the success of the programme means that it is now rolled out across Wales. It is a fantastic example of collaborative working, where each organisation within the partnership has a key role to play and contribution to make. Congratulations to the students who have completed the programme to date.”

James Severs, Executive Director of Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Many congratulations to our Hywel Dda colleagues who are the first to complete the Therapy Assistant Practitioner (TAP) Diploma. Being able to offer an accredited course in west Wales, through our partnership with UWTSD signals a significant investment in the development of how we deliver high quality services, which I’m sure will benefit our allied health support workforce, our health board, our patients, and service users locally. I wish our colleagues well as they develop their career in allied health and look forward to working with future generations of students as we invest and grow our local talent.”

Trish Mathias-Lloyd, Education Development Manager at HEIW said: “The success of the first programme has been observed by the rest of Wales and there is now a Once for Wales group supporting the ongoing delivery of this programme from other Health Boards across Wales.

“This would not have been possible without the programme developers Kalee Thomas from UWTSD, Donna Morgan Programme Manager UWTSD and Sarah Collins HDUHB & UWTSD and subject experts across Hywel Dda, and finally, the mentors and supervisors that have given support to the learners throughout the last 18 months”.