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Deborah Harding

Associate Professor, Director for Workforce Development
Centre for Allied Health

My teaching, learning and research are underpinned by comprehensive experience in health and social care practice, management and leadership across a range of settings.

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

Much of my NHS career has been in multi-professional management and leadership, and includes experience as an in-patient services manager, service development manager and associate director in an NHS Partnership Trust.  I have held board positions in the not-for-profit sector.  Through my leadership roles I became interested in developing people and in quality improvement, including the use of action learning, the application of personal construct psychology and supervision practices. My PhD research explored supervision for the allied health professions.

I have developed and led multi-professional post-registration education with a focus on policy, service improvement, quality and innovation, workplace education and supervision.  In 2015, my curriculum development work in quality improvement received a Health Innovation Network/ Health Education South London Innovation Grant.  In 2019, I 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.  I am the module leader in this programme for Advancing Clinical Education and Supervision.

I have 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.  I have contributed to revision of supervision guidance for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and am leading work with Health Education England to develop supervision guidance for multi-professional advanced level practitioners in training and practice.


  • BMedSci (Speech)
  • MSc Cognitive Neuropsychology
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • PhD 

My research focus is supervision practices for health professions and leadership, with a particular focus on allied health professions.

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, .

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