Respiratory physio and transformation lead scoop top allied health professional awards

Two physiotherapists received recognition at this year’s Chief Allied Health Professions (AHP) Officer Awards, which took place in London on 20 June.

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NHS England’s chief allied health professions officer Suzanne Rastrick presents physiotherapist Laura McNeillie with her award. Photo: NHS England

Respiratory physio Laura McNeillie triumphed in the AHP NICE in to Action category of the awards, which aims to highlight the work of health professionals who have used National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance or quality standards to change practice or improve care.

Mrs McNeillie, who works as an advanced specialist physio in pulmonary rehab at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, helped to develop a pulmonary rehabilitation programme for patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD).

The initiative, at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust, has allowed patients to undertake a dedicated programme of exercise that improves their quality of life.

She told Frontline: ‘I am delighted to receive the award, as it recognises the hard work by the wider multidisciplinary team that goes into setting up a new service and promotes pulmonary rehab for different conditions aside from the established services for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

‘Our trust has a dedicated respiratory team for ILD for the north east region, and the multidisciplinary team includes consultants, radiologists, specialist nurse and physiotherapists.

‘Historically these patients have attended our established pulmonary rehab service, alongside COPD patients, but they themselves recognised their needs differed greatly from this other patient group.’

As a result, Mrs McNeillie helped to implement recommendations from the relevant NICE guideline [CG163] and quality standards and apply them to the trust’s service.

The best-practice guidance from NICE states that pulmonary rehab that is designed specifically for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a type of ILD, should be offered to this patient group.

‘I hope this encourages more research into ILD and pulmonary rehab in the future,’ Mrs McNeillie added.

Improving ways of working

Meanwhile, Marc Berry, programme manager for transformation at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, won the AHP Quality Improvement Award.

He told Frontline: ‘It’s a fantastic feeling – fantastic to be nominated and to be recognised – and it’s all about trying to give the best possible care to patients. But it’s never just about one person; it’s about the whole team working together – physiotherapists and the wider multidisciplinary team.’

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NHS England’s chief allied health professions officer Suzanne Rastrick presents physiotherapist Marc Berry with his award. Photo: NHS England

The judging panel honoured Mr Berry for a project he initiated while acting as a quality improvement fellow.

It aimed to improve the service of Basingstoke hospital’s emergency care therapy team, which includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists and therapy assistants.

‘We were asking colleagues to refer to us and to see patients at the front door in the emergency department, but many didn’t really know what our service was, so part of it was about educating them and us starting to triage and get senior staff in to proactively see if we could triage patients and pick them up.

‘We started to make more links with the matrons, consultants and nurses and support workers – so they knew who we were, what we did and what the value of us been at the front door was.

‘And we looked at how AHPs could work closer with each other – what we called ‘blurring the boundaries’ - rather than duplicating work, and we looked at when most of our patients were coming in. Then we used that data to find different ways of working, to help prevent unnecessary admissions.’

This is the second year that NHS England has run the Chief Allied Health Professions Officers Awards, which aim to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by AHPs to improve the health, care and wellbeing of patients and communities.


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by Robert Millett

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