Letters - 20 February 2013

Get involved now by sending your contributions by email to talkback@csp.org.uk or write to Letters, Frontline, 14 Bedford Row London WC1R 4ED. Letters should be no more than 250 words. Frontline reserves the right to edit letters. Please ensure you include your name, address and a daytime telephone number.

Called to account

I refer to the Frontline article ‘Standing up for women who have continence problems’ (page 8, 23 January).

The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health (ACPWH) noted Elaine Miller’s recent success on the stand-up comedy circuit.

It was not made clear whether Ms Miller has any expertise or clinical interest in continence and women’s health.

The article detailed her rationale for including information and advice about pelvic floor muscle exercises and continence issues and highlighted her Twitter account for people to follow.

The CSP’s recent guidance on social media was necessary for exactly this situation; Ms Miller’s Twitter account, being completely unregulated, is not a place to take pelvic floor muscle exercise advice.

The further concern of ACPWH is that Frontline, ‘the voice of physiotherapy’, has exercised insufficient editorial judgement by suggesting that appropriate pelvic floor advice can be obtained from Ms Miller’s Twitter account and ‘gusset grippers’ parties.

Wider awareness of continence issues is to be encouraged, but clinically-based advice and information must be delivered in a professional and appropriate setting.

ACPWH does not believe that Frontline has upheld this fundamental requirement in reporting this story.
Kate Lough, executive member, ACPWH

The editor responds: Frontline aims to ensure the highest editorial standards in the items it runs and works closely with physiotherapy and union staff in the CSP to ensure this.

However our news story was not endorsing, on the part of the CSP, the clinical content of a member’s Twitter feed, which will in any case change from day to day.

The CSP advice on using social media is available at: www.csp.org.uk/publications/social-media-guidance

More on interns

I am responding to the letter titled ‘Level playing field?’ (‘Talkback’, 6 February).

I appreciate the concerns that were raised about the internships we are offering at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM).

The two internships are supernumerary posts and the interns will receive high quality supervision. Mental health is a highly specialist area that few students gain experience in and new and innovative ways of opening doors to the speciality are required.

I hope it is clear this is not about ‘cheap labour’. Indeed, I used the two CSP documents relating to interns as my guide when developing this programme.
Ross Farmer, SLaM

Want to know more about CSP’s guidance? See ‘Advice line’, page 22.

Sticking point

I wonder if the elderly lady balancing on the tube train had perfectly normal hearing (‘Balancing Act’, 23 January).

As a retired physiotherapist who inherited familial early-onset hearing deficit starting in my mid-40s, I find that most people – even physios – are unaware of the possibility of this link, though the anatomical proximity of these sensory faculties might trigger the thought.

Now I have to walk with a stick, and have to wear two hearing aids to approach anything like ‘normal’ hearing for my age.

Dropping in to physiotherapy departments for ferrule replacements always prompts questions about my reason for stick use.

Surprise is registered, although the phenomenon is becoming more researched.

It matters to me that nobody decides to shorten my stick, as my well-adapted neural pathways (for having three available contact points with the ground) would need re-training.

Readers may like to bear this in mind.
Penelope Fenn Clark

96 not out

The letter about the lady on a tube train reminded me of my mother-in-law.

At the age of 96 she was mildly unwell, and her offspring decided she needed help in dressing and general ‘care’.

She disagreed fairly emphatically, but conceded that her daughters-in-law could ‘come and watch’.

So I watched as my mother-in-law dressed herself very ably, including standing on one leg while putting her stocking on the other one.

She repeated the performance with the second stocking.  Quite a feat at any age.  Subsequently we let her dress unobserved.   
Sarah Smith

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