The Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy Team at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been nominated for the Future NHS Award due to their innovative approach to delivering treatment in the community.
In July 2019, St Peter’s Physiotherapy team took pioneering steps to relocate the musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy classes out of the hospital and into River Bourne Health Club, becoming the first team of its kind to provide rehab in a commercial gym. By moving rehab away from a hospital setting their aim is to increase confidence in using community gyms and increase patients’ motivation and positivity to self-manage.
The team had also been piloting video consultations and were in advanced planning for digital classes prior to COVID-19, resulting in the team being able to not only continue to deliver expert care and treatment throughout the pandemic, but also continue training programmes, and support other departments.
Submitting the nomination, Dr Ben Spencer MP said:
I am delighted to submit this nomination for the NHS Parliamentary Awards. The innovative approach taken by the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy Teams has not only provided improved care options for local residents despite covid restrictions, but it also has the ability to bring real improvements to treatment and support across the NHS.
Now gyms have reopened I have seen first hand the support they are offering, and the difference it has made to patients. The team deserve our thanks and recognition for their exceptional work in this field.
Leon Palmer-Wilson, Acting Clinical Co-Lead for MSK Physiotherapy at the Trust, said:
Despite the demands of COVID-19, the teams operated at full capacity and supported colleagues throughout the Trust, offering 1500 new monthly appointments. Their virtual physiotherapy skills were utilised through treating patients from community stroke and orthopaedic teams, whose care was affected by the reduction of services during lockdown. With supporting vulnerable and elderly patients remotely a clear priority, the teams also liaised with families to assist with their technological needs and introduced new virtual classes specifically for patients at risk of general deconditioning due to shielding.
Patients and staff have acknowledged the benefits of virtual working, which include: no travel; no parking costs; decreased risk of exposure to COVID-19; shorter waiting times; environmentally friendly. Now restrictions are being lifted, the service is returning to River Bourne with new hybrid classes. Embracing technology, following successful virtual classes provided during lockdown, patients can now select the class format, face-to-face or virtual, to suit their personal needs and preference.
The NHS Awards celebrate the very best of the NHS. All NHS staff, volunteers and society’s carers deserve recognition, but there are many like St Peter's Physiotherapy Team that go above and beyond the call of duty to make the NHS a better service – through exceptional effort, innovation and simply by putting patients first.
MPs are able to make one nomination in each of the 10 categories of the awards. The winners will be presented with their awards in parliament on 7 July 2021.