Burton’s Queen’s Hospital is believed to be one of the first in the UK to offer a new role for physiotherapists, which has also helped it attract high calibre staff members who can deliver specialist care for patients.
Three physiotherapists have joined the Queen’s Hospital team in the innovative Fellowship Posts. They will undergo 18 months of focused training under the guidance of Extended Scope Practitioners (ESPs); highly skilled physiotherapists who provide an expert level of care to patients with complex health problems.
The three new staff members have left posts in hospitals in Kettering, Nottinghamshire and Kent to move to Burton because of the unique opportunity the posts offered. Consultant physiotherapist Emma Salt came up with the plan of creating a structured Fellowship Post where ambitious and well-motivated Band 6 physiotherapists could train over an 18-month period to work at the level of a Band 7 ESP.
Emma’s idea got the go-ahead and the innovative recruitment approach – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK in physiotherapy – received a great reaction from jobseekers. “We were delighted with the quality and quantity of applications that the advert attracted, and we chose three people to join our team in January,” said Emma.
The new recruits are Leena Lad, who has moved from Kettering General Hospital, Fred Mainwaring, who previously worked for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Agostino Faletra who previously worked at Sevenoaks Hospital in Kent. They will each spend six months specialising in the upper quadrant (arms, neck, and shoulders), six months specialising in the lower quadrant (legs, pelvis, and lower back) and also spend six months attached to the Emergency Department.
By the end of each six month period it is anticipated that they all have all the skills experience and confidence to work at a Band 7 ESP level in that area. Leena said: “I was delighted when I saw this job advertised. I’d never seen anything like this before and it was perfect for what I wanted to do. I was thrilled when I heard my interview had been successful.” Fred agreed that the opportunity was unique in his experience: “Usually you would have to spend time working your way up and gaining experience to be considered for promotion to Band 7,” he said. Agostino said that the uniquely-structured training and development that the post offered was a real incentive to apply and he was very happy to have joined the Trust. The creation of the Fellowship Posts has also been welcomed by existing Band 6 physiotherapists. Lucy Sawer, who has worked at the Trust for more than four years, said the creation of the new posts gave everyone in the department massive learning opportunities. “I am still in touch with people I studied with who work at other trusts and I can see that here in Burton we have a close and supportive network where everyone in the team supports and learns from everyone else,” she said.
Emma intends that the Fellowship Posts will continue on a rolling programme with new candidates recruited in 18 months’ time.