Respiratory specialist replaces medic to become trust’s first physio consultant

Sam Pilsworth has replaced a medical consultant to become the first physio consultant at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS trust, the largest single site specialist heart and chest hospital in the country.

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Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS trust's physiotherapy consultant Sam Pilsworth

Ms Pilsworth was physio team leader of Knowsley Community Respiratory Disease Service when one of the respiratory consultant posts became available.

‘I replaced a medical consultant and will be undertaking the same role, which is a massive step forwards for being able to showcase the work of physiotherapy,’ she said, adding, ‘I’ve not heard of other AHP consultant posts in the community, they are mainly in in-patient roles.’

Commenting on the trust’s announcement of the post, CSP chief executive Karen Middleton tweeted: ‘You won’t regret it!’

Having the support of forward-thinking medics and managers has greatly helped in recognising the value of a physiotherapist in this role, Ms Pilsworth believes.

‘The team I work with are quite innovative with regards to service delivery. To offer the best service for long-term respiratory conditions they wanted the service to be lead by a true multidisciplinary team of highly specialised staff from different disciplines,’ said Ms Pilsworth.

Physio skills and values

‘They recognise the skills and value physios bring in the management of patients with respiratory conditions by the holistic way we assess and treat patients, the education we deliver, self management strategies and support for lifestyle changes.’

In her new role, Ms Pilsworth, who has an MSc in advanced practice, said she is looking forward to more autonomy and increasing her involvement in research. ‘It will also enable me to get out and network with other specialists and have influence on shaping our community services,’ she added.

Rachael Moses, a consultant respiratory physiotherapist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, who will be mentoring Ms Pilsworth, said she was ‘incredibly pleased’ about the appointment.

Posts lost nationally

‘We have lost at least four consultant respiratory physiotherapy posts nationally over the last five years so to see new ones being created in this challenging financial climate is so inspiring.

‘The more senior clinical roles, especially at consultant level, that exist improves our ability to demonstrate the benefit not only to patients and their families but the wider socio-economic impact on health and care on a larger scale.’

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by Louise Hunt

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