Your comments: 19 September 2018

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Love activity with an open water swim

On 2 September, I swam Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, to raise awareness of mental and physical wellbeing. The 11-mile swim took me just under seven hours to complete. 

I only started swimming five years ago. At that point, I was only able to do one length of a 25-metre pool due to poor breathing. I now do three or four long-distance swims a week, adding up to 15-20km per week, about 600-800 lengths, plus an open water swim too.

Through the Windermere swim I am raising money too, for the Living Way, a counselling service based in Sunderland which provides funding and support for people in emotional difficulty. 

Open water swimming has increased in popularity in recent years and from a physiotherapy perspective I have found it very interesting exploring the psychological and physiological benefits. 

  • Trevor Langford, Tyne and Wear

Transforming neonatal staffing

The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (ACPC) is on the verge of publishing neonatal physiotherapy staffing recommendations. The guidelines were written by myself on behalf of our association’s neonatal committee, and follow neonatal peer reviews by NHS England over the last year.

The recommendations are part of work looking at the transformation of neonatal critical care services, with a guidance document set for publication at the end of 2018. 

It has been a great opportunity to raise the profile of neonatal allied health professionals. There has been a lot of interest in the document already and any member who would like more information, please email me on

  • Charlotte Xanthidis, vice-chair, APCP neonatal committee

Keeping it in-house

We have had great success in introducing a ‘megaclinic’ to address long waits to see a spinal surgeon for a first outpatient appointment. There were as many as 6,000 patients waiting on our regional spinal lists, where the outpatient wait was about 152 weeks.

The aim of the megaclinic was to provide a patient-centred approach to improving waiting times and care, through appropriate triage of patients. 

Multidisciplinary working has been key to the success of the project and it was encouraging to see the passion evident in bringing this idea forward. Traditionally, any attempts made by the Belfast Trust to tackle waiting times have involved funding the independent sector to provide services, but this provides only a short-term solution.  By introducing the megaclinic we have established there are multiple benefits to keeping waiting list initiatives in-house, including a reduction in the overall cost to the NHS by at least £43 per patient; it also reinvests resources in our existing service, providing longer term benefits.

  • Mary Nickel, Bradbury Centre, Belfast

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