Your comments: 6 December 2017

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Polio plea  

I recently saw the film Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. It’s about a real-life couple, Robin and Diana Cavendish, who tried to live as full a life as possible after Robin contracted poliomyelitis in 1958 and had to be kept alive on a ventilator. The couple later became advocates for disabled people. 
Having trained at the time of the last British polio epidemic, I will never forget the bright young patients whose lives would never be the same due to this devastating disease. Although not perfect I recommend this film – only 12 cases have been reported in the world this year. In the 1950s there were 45,000 polio cases in the UK with many deaths. 
At the start of my training we spent days and nights trying to make these patients comfortable – can you imagine what it must be like not being able to breathe or move? Patients had painful limbs without  muscle tone – day and night we had to carefully position their limbs on pillows or in half plaster casts, sliding their bodies in and out of iron lungs, teaching frog breathing so that they could talk, and frequently being asked: please could you scratch the end of my nose?! We must eradicate this disease forever.
  • Lyn Ankcorn, honorary secretary, CSP Retirement Association 

Pioneering leaders

I read the article on ward managers (page 24, 1 November issue) with interest and excitement. It resonates with me as I have a similar role in a community team. 
At Airedale NHS Trust, there are two collaborative care teams, each with a deputy team leader and an overarching clinical lead. I hold the position of deputy team leader at Airedale collaborative care team, a managerial and leadership role. 
As a physiotherapist by background. I lead a multidisciplinary team of nurses, support workers, physios, occupational therapists and a mental health nurse. I am responsible for approximately 35 people – similar to a ward, but with all the exciting variables that community work offers!
There are challenges of blurred boundary leadership, but I have learned a lot from my nursing colleagues and we now gel really well and learn together. 
What my physiotherapy training and previous experience has offered me is the skills to be an effective leader. I am sure there are others who would flourish in leadership roles – especially roles not previously held by physios.
  • Martin Welton, deputy team leader, Airedale collaborative care team 

Prescribing guide

More than 40,000 nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, optometrists and therapeutic radiographers can now prescribe medicines, and there are ongoing plans to extend prescribing rights to others. 
The University of Surrey’s school of health sciences has launched a guide to aid non-medical prescribers. Dr Karen Stenner and I led the team that developed the Preparing to Prescribe toolkit, with input from educators, researchers and policy makers, inspired by more than a decade of work on non-medical prescribing. It is available free of charge.
  • Dr Nicola Carey, University of Surrey 

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