Jo Churchill Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for health has appealed to people from the North East to consider a career as an allied health professional.

She said: "Allied Health Professionals are the unsung heroes of our NHS and they are as vital to its success as our brilliant doctors and nurses."

The government has promised to secure 26,000 primary care professionals, including paramedics and physiotherapists, and 50,000 more nurses by 2025, so every patient can benefit from their broad range of skills in their hour of need.

Mrs Churchill continued: "The job title Allied Health Professional itself might not be instantly recognisable. But if you mention paramedics people might think of the person who saved their father from a heart attack. Say physiotherapist and they may think of the person who helped their son walk again after breaking a leg, or a speech and language therapist could have taught their autistic child to communicate.

"All of these roles are Allied Health Professionals and they are among the most varied and vital jobs in our health service. Without these life savers, life changers and committed professionals our NHS wouldn’t be able to provide the brilliant services it does today.

"I know first-hand how important these roles are. When I was twice diagnosed and treated for cancer the NHS radiographers, physiotherapists, and nurses, including the cancer nurse specialists who looked after me, gave me faith that it was going to be OK.

"I will never forget their compassion, kindness and professionalism and our NHS needs many more of them to continue to provide excellent care to people in some of the toughest moments of their lives.

"I want more people to consider one of these careers, where you can make an immeasurable difference to people’s lives every single day.

"But across the country there is huge variation in how many people apply for these different roles – and it is crucial every area has the numbers they need."

In the North East, 225 more people joined the NHS as allied health professionals in 2016/17 than in the previous five years - an increase of 21.5 per cent.

Significantly more new joiners became Paramedics, but the North East is in real need of more Podiatrists.

Now, for the first time, the government is launching a national recruitment drive targeted at these professions alongside a new package of financial support for students.

From September students training towards the careers highlighted in the new campaign will benefit from a new Government maintenance grant worth at least £5,000 a year.

This includes Occupational Therapists, Paramedics, Podiatrist, Diagnostic Radiographers, Therapeutic Radiographers, Orthoptists, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists and Orthotists.

Up to £3,000 more will go to students with childcare responsibilities or studying selected specialisms including podiatry, prosthetics and radiography. This is in addition to existing tuition and maintenance loans so students will be better able to help support themselves during their studies.

These jobs require a degree level qualification but Mrs Churchill is encouraging both young people who are finishing university and people interested in changing careers to consider applying to help build the workforce of the future.

The new campaign also targets nurses as part of the Government’s work to deliver 50,000 more nurses by 2025, and they will benefit from the same financial support. 

Mrs Churchill said: "We’re all aware of the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the reality is the NHS has never needed its staff more."

If you think one of these careers could be for you, visit