‘Ambassador for physiotherapy’ gains surprise nomination for Guardian public service award

Fiona Jenkins was surprised to discover her colleagues at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had nominated her for a Guardian public service award.

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Fiona Jenkins is the only physio who is also an executive director of therapies and health science in the Welsh NHS

A physiotherapist, Dr Jenkins has led the way to ensure that therapists and health scientists have equal recognition with other health professions at all levels, including board level.

Dr Jenkins, executive director of therapies and health science at the south Wales board, was one of the runners up in the national awards at the end of November.

She told Frontline: ‘Our health board, like every other healthcare provider, is trying to deliver services for a growing population, with increased need at the very time when we have less resource to do so.’

She said that in such an environment, it was particularly important for the NHS to harness the efficiency and clinical excellence that physiotherapists can provide.

‘But unless you can get your voice heard – and I guess a lot of physios would say that we have got lots of great ideas, but nobody is listening – it is sometimes hard to make the progress,’ she said.

‘As an executive director, I am able to have those discussions at board level and at some of our senior management committees.’

Among the seven executive directors of therapies and health science across the NHS in Wales, she is the only physiotherapist and said it was great to be an ‘ambassador for our profession’.

Each year, the Guardian public services awards recognise fresh ways of delivering services that have yielding benefits.

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by Gill Hitchcock

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