The People Involved
Who’s who? – the healthcare professionals you’ll encounter
Ambulance care assistant (alternative: patient care services)
Ambulance care assistants transport non-emergency patients to and from hospital for pre-arranged appointments, but also have life-saving skills should an emergency occur. They help patients in and out of the ambulance and will also ensure they are settled in before leaving their home. This service is only available to patients who cannot make their own way.
A consultant is a doctor who is fully trained in a particular specialty area and has the ultimate responsibility for the clinical care of patients. Most consultants work in hospitals in multidisciplinary teams which will include nurses and other healthcare professionals as well as other doctors.
Counselling psychologists apply psychology to working collaboratively with people across a wide range of human problems, including helping people to manage difficult life events such as bereavement and past and present relationships. They also work with patients with mental health problems and disorders. They may work directly with individuals, couples or families.
Dietician (alternative: dietetic assistant)
Dieticians work autonomously within a multidisciplinary team and have their own caseload of patients. They draw up nutritional care plans for patients and advise patients about their diet, including those with particular needs such as allergies, eating disorders or diabetes.
General practitioners (GPs)
General practitioners have overall responsibility for the management of patient healthcare, including the diagnosis and treatment of health problems and referring patients for specialist treatment where necessary. They are increasingly responsible for monitoring their patients’ health on a regular basis.
Nurse (alternatives: staff nurse, registered nurse, registered practitioner)
Nurses assess patients, plan and implement their care and provide advice. Wound treatment in amputees is one of their specialities.
Occupational therapist (OT)
Occupational therapists help people who are ill, disabled or feeling the effects of ageing to live as normal lives as possible. Their work can involve giving advice on how the home or workplace environment can be modified to improve mobility and quality of life; helping people learn new ways of doing things; and adapting materials or equipment for easier use.
Orthotists provide care for people of all ages requiring a device to support or control part of their body, through providing a range of splints, braces and special footwear to aid movement, correct any deformities and relieve pain and discomfort. Orthotists work closely with doctors, physiotherapists and chiropodists.
Prosthetists work with patients of all ages who were born without a limb, or who have lost a limb as a result of an accident, amputation, or having a disease such as diabetes. They work as part of a clinical team, alongside doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Prosthetists are supported by a team of highly qualified Technicians and together they provide the best available artificial replacement limbs with the aim of enabling patients to lead as normal a life as possible.