Letters: 6 May 2015

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Mum’s the word

I read your article titled Flexible options (4 March 2015). As a working mum, I have found that it’s not easy to obtain flexible working patterns when you are in a band 5 rotation role. Having worked in the private sector before a career change, I had been used to a highly flexible approach to requests for changes in working patterns – especially for mothers and women returning from maternity leave. I worked extremely hard to retrain as a physio, having my children alongside my degree studies. 
My feeling is that traditional rotational posts in the NHS are still designed for full-time graduates with no care responsibilities. I wonder if rotational posts stop working mums from having a good work-life balance. Is it a young person’s or male game? Should working mums aim instead for static posts at the expense of consolidating their learning and then deciding on a speciality? Indeed, is this role indirectly discriminatory to women, meaning that the valuable skills are lost?
Name withheld at writer’s request

Blurred roles

I see patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in my clinic and at their homes. In the past, if they’ve been unwell and required bloods then I’ve either had to interrupt a colleague or make an appointment for them to see someone else later. This leads to avoidable delays in treatment, and is frustrating for me as a clinician and inconvenient for them.
I’ve completed venipuncture training and am due to do further training that will enable me to check arterial blood gases. I was surprised how little training was required to take blood (about three hours). 
The ability to take blood is extremely useful in my current role. It streamlines the treatment process for patients and saves a lot time and effort. I wonder if other respiratory physiotherapists who run clinics and/or work in the community also take bloods.
Second, in my experience, the role of specialist physiotherapists, specialist nurses and doctors in respiratory care seems to be getting more blurred. For example, more physiotherapists and nurses are becoming independent prescribers and some specialist nurses run pulmonary rehabilitation with no physiotherapy input. On the one hand I can see the merit in developing a number of different skills as this can benefit the whole team and makes staff cover much easier. In addition, we’re taught that continuing professional development is essential throughout our career. 
However, could physiotherapists risk losing their professional identity by becoming too generic? Or should we embrace opportunities to broaden our skills? I suppose it’s a matter of assessing each physio’s training requirements on an individual basis.
Rhiannon Kendrick

Patient case studies needed

The CSP is on the lookout for case studies to add to a growing list on its website. The stories highlight the positive and life-changing impact physiotherapy can make to a patient’s recovery and aim to encourage others to seek physiotherapy.  To share a case study, email pressoffice@csp.org.uk
Frontline and various

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