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Professor Deborah Harding

Professor of Learning and Innovation for Practice
Centre for Allied Health

Deborah is a Professor of Learning and Innovation for Practice. She has research and teaching interest in supervision and leadership for health professionals and combines her academic post with the role of Subject Matter Expert in multiprofessional supervision at Health Education England.

Much of Deborah’s NHS career has been in multi-professional management and leadership. She has held board positions in the not-for-profit sector. These leadership roles led to her interest in developing people and in quality improvement, including the use of action learning, the application of personal construct psychology and supervision practices. She has been working in higher education since 2008. Her PhD research explored supervision for the allied health professions. Resources developed from her PhD can be found at her not-for-profit website and blog:

Deborah is a speech and language therapist by profession. She is Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered and a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) member. She has an MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology and specialised clinically in acquired disorders of language and non-language cognition. From 2017 to 2019, she combined her academic role with a role as consultant and professional lead for speech and language therapy at St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Deborah’s research focus is supervision practices for health professions and leadership, with a particular focus on allied health professions. She has delivered commissioned service evaluations including work for Macmillan Cancer Support and for the Chief Allied Health Professions' Officer's team, NHS England/Improvement to develop Allied Health Professions’ leadership across the NHS in England. She contributed to revision of supervision guidance for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and leads work with Health Education England to develop, promote and embed supervision guidance for multi-professional advanced level practitioners in training and practice.

Book Section

Carroll, Clare and Harding, Deborah (2019) Grounded theory and its use in communication disorders research. In: Lyons, Rena and McAllister, Lindy, (eds.) Qualitative research in communication disorders : an introduction for students and clinicians. Guildford, U.K. : J&R Press. pp. 119-140. ISBN 9781907826382

Roulstone, Sue, Atherton, Marie, Davidson, Bronwyn, Harding, Deborah, Kelic, Maja and McAllister, Lindy (2019) Using qualitative research to explore professional practice. In: Lyons, Rena and McAllister, Lindy, (eds.) Qualitative research in communication disorders : an introduction for students and clinicians. Guildford, U.K. : J&R Press. pp. 435-460. ISSN (print) 9781907826382

Harding, Deborah (2017) Looking at research methodology through personal construct psychology lenses : reflections from a PhD student choosing grounded theory. In: Winter, David , Cummins, Peter , Proctor, Harry and Reed, Nick, (eds.) Personal construct psychology at 60. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars. pp. 32-45. ISBN 9781443882798


Palma, Stuart, Harding, Deborah and Treadwell, Liz (2019) Developing allied health professional leaders : a guide for trust boards and clinicians. (Other) NHS England. (no. IT 13/19)

Palma, Stuart, Harding, Deborah and Treadwell, Liz (2019) Investing in chief allied health professionals : insights from trust executives : a guide to reviewing AHP leadership for trust boards and clinicians. (Project Report) NHS Improvement. (no. SL 21/19)

Harding, Deborah and Treadwell, Elizabeth (2018) Allied health professions' leadership in NHS trusts in England : understanding what exists and what matters : report to Dr Joanne Fillingham. (Project Report) NHS Improvement.


Harding, Deborah (2019) Practitioner permeability and the resolution of practice uncertainties : a grounded theoretical perspective of supervision for allied health professionals. (PhD thesis), St George's, University of London, .

Deborah’s teaching and learning activity is underpinned by comprehensive experience in health and social care practice, management and leadership across a range of settings. She has developed and led multi-professional post-registration education with a focus on policy, service improvement, quality and innovation, workplace education, leadership and supervision. In 2015, her curriculum development work in quality improvement received a Health Innovation Network/ Health Education South London Innovation Grant. In 2019, she led curriculum development at St George’s University of London for the multi-professional MSc Advanced Clinical Practice and Master’s Degree Apprenticeship in Advanced Clinical Practice. She has been the module leader in this programme for Advancing Clinical Education and Supervision. Deborah is commissioned by NHS organisations to provide continuing professional development courses in leadership and supervision.

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