Your comments: 3 June 2015

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Different strokes

The News in pictures feature in the 20 May issue reported that the number of people in their 40s and 50s who are having strokes is ‘soaring’. Readers might be interested to hear a recent edition of the More or Less programme on Radio 4 titled ‘Strokes, teachers, confused computers’ (broadcast on 15 May but available on the BBC iPlayer). 
This questions whether the incidence of people having strokes is going up. The headline is based on a Stroke Association report on the increase in the number of hospital admissions following a stroke. However, according to Tony Rudd from King’s College London and the national clinical director for stroke, population-based studies in London and Oxford suggest that the overall incidence of stroke is, in fact, going down for all age-groups. He suggests that the increase hospital admissions is due to changes in practice, with more hospital admissions for mini-strokes and an increased awareness of symptoms, through public campaigns, meaning that more people are seeking hospital care. 
According to Professor Rudd, there is a need to be robust in how data is used. For physiotherapists, I think it is important that we look behind the headlines and don’t necessarily take these at face value.
  • Jane Hislop, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Seven days ups and downs

As a member of the NHS who works unsocial hours and on-call, I fully agree with the online comments posted by CSP assistant director Peter Finch in response to the article about Suzanne Rastrick (page 16, 6 May). 
As someone who has been involved in partnership with my trust to develop seven-day services I can only echo the sentiments of Mr Finch. I agree with Suzanne Rastrick: engaging with practitioners and physiotherapists is important. 
It is essential to ensure that a service development is led by everyone. 
However, it is also essential that these service developments are funded appropriately to ensure the best outcome for patients and staff. An approach to seven-day services where trusts move to these patterns without consultation or funding is not in the best interests of anyone and sets them up to fail.
  • Jill Barker, chair CSP industrial relations committee.

Shifting sands?

All the seven-day services I have encountered rely on volunteers to bolster the core staff. I am an 8a who only gets band 7 pay for overtime and pays 40 per cent tax on what I earn at weekends. So without enhanced pay it is simply not worth me working extra hours. 
It’s not that I don’t need the money it’s just that I wouldn’t really be getting any after accounting for my travel time, petrol, wear and tear on my vehicle and paying the trust to park my car. I believe goodwill is already becoming thin on the ground as I see it harder and harder to cover weekend shifts even with the pay on offer. 
  • Victoria Thomas.

Dead right 

Your articles on working with patients who are dying (page 23, 6 May and page 22, 20 May) were very insightful and I was delighted to see this important area of practice given so much space in Frontline. 
Readers might be interested to know that Samantha Powell and I carried out some research in relation to students’ experiences of patient death on placement. This is the reference: Powell S and Toms J (2014) Passing away: an exploratory study into physiotherapy students’ experiences of patient death whilst on clinical placement. International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care 2(1),108-21

  • Jane Toms, Coventry University.

Thanks, Georgie

Many thanks to Georgie Oldfield for staging an inspirational event on 26 April. It was titled Chronic pain, to manage, suppress or cure.  Have a look at the SIRPA – Pain Relief and Recovery website here.  
  • Sue Willer
Frontline and various

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