Outpatients physiotherapist Matt Sanderson goes back to the ward

In this staff profile we caught up with Matt, a Senior MSK Physiotherapist, who tells us about how the outpatients physiotherapy service has adapted and the challenges he’s encountered during redeployment to the inpatient physiotherapy team…

Can you explain your role, what it usually involves and where you are normally based?

I am a team-lead physiotherapist who works within the Musculoskeletal Outpatients department, based at Brighton General Hospital. I’ve worked at BSUH for approximately 18 months and my normal role involves assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. I also help to run a rehabilitation class for people with low back pain.

How has your role had to change in recent weeks?
Initially, Outpatient services changed dramatically, meaning our face-to-face appointments were all cancelled. As a result, we moved to providing all consultations via telephone and we spent a large amount of time contacting the patients to give them self-management advice or further follow-ups.
Following the redeployment of a number of inpatient physiotherapists to assist in critical care, I (along with a few outpatient colleagues) have been redeployed to assist the inpatient physiotherapy service. I am currently working on the Vascular ward on Level 8 Tower.
My new role involves assessing and treating post-operative vascular patients. These include above and below-knee amputations, lower limb bypass surgeries and foot reconstructions and often require a significant amount of rehabilitation and discharge planning due to their often life-changing procedures.
How have you found the change? What has been challenging?
We found moving our assessments to telephone consultations proved quite challenging at first, but the team adapted well. Due to not being able to assess and analyse our patient’s movements, we had to be clearer with our instructions and at times more creative, in order to gain an understanding of their issues without being able to see them.
With regards to redeployment, I personally found the move quite difficult initially, as I haven’t consistently worked on the wards for over 4 years and moving into a busy, unfamiliar environment was certainly a test. However, the team I have joined have been incredibly supportive and welcoming to enable me to get up to speed.
What achievements are you most proud of?
The physiotherapy service has had to be adaptive and flexible in its response to the pandemic and I am proud of how we have still been able to deliver excellent quality care. It has been a great achievement to be able to maintain well-run services despite all of the alterations to the service.
Personally, I have particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work with new people, be that physiotherapists from other specialties who I wouldn’t normally get the chance to work with or being back part of the wider multidisciplinary team.