The 2019 FHT Conference ‘an inspiring and rewarding day’

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The 2019 FHT Conference brought together leading experts in research, education and healthcare, to explore the future of integrated health and social care. The event was held on Friday 29 November at The Kings Fund, London and attracted delegates and speakers from across the country.

Executive Director of FHT, Alyssa Burns-Hill began the conference by introducing the FHT’s new sustainability report, which outlines the FHT’s current sustainable practices. Alyssa said, ‘We hope you find this inspirational as we would like to continue to share with you ways in which you can make your lives and work practices more sustainable and successful as part of the work that we do together.’

Conference host Janey Lee Grace, a regular presenter on Radio 2 and UK Health Radio, introduced the first of the speakers, Dr John Hughes. John spoke about patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) in integrated health care and explained the value in completing an evaluation whereby a client assesses any improvements to their own health and wellbeing.

As therapists, a primary focus of our work is around our client’s bodies and mental wellbeing. Dr Fiona Holland spoke about the importance of enhancing body image and body self esteem in clients. Fiona gave some eye-opening statistics about the way that both sexes often feel about their bodies. Fiona said, ‘50% of women are currently trying to lose weight even though the majority are already at or below what is classified as a normal weight. The YMCA’s ‘Be Real’ campaign in 2015 found that men are less likely to have body dissatisfaction but the number of men taking steroids has doubled over the past ten years and one in five men take protein supplements to bulk up.’ Fiona’s talk encouraged discussion on strategies therapists can implement in their own practices to enhance body positivity in their clients.

Delegates also enjoyed a presentation from Gwyn Featonby and Sarah Grant from the first NHS approved therapy school, based in Harrogate. Gwyn and Sarah explained how they have achieved integration of complementary therapies into an NHS organisation. They described the benefits of having approved training within an NHS trust for complementary therapy, both for students, staff and patients.

Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews spoke about what she thinks good integrated healthcare ‘looks like’, including an overview of the services available at Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre. Laura shared some tips on how therapists can forge links with relevant health professionals and organisations in their local community.

Suzanne Ruggles, MSc DiPHE, MFHT, spoke about her personal experience of being diagnosed with lupus and how she managed her stress and symptoms with the use of complementary therapies. Suzanne has now set up an award-winning programme, the Full Circle Fund which provides evidence-based support in two hospitals to those facing a life-threatening or life-limiting illness. Suzanne captivated delegates with her case studies on patients and summarised by outlining just a few of the programme’s successes.

The day’s programme was then rounded off by Janey announcing the winners of the 2019 FHT Excellence Awards, which serve to recognise those raising the bar in therapy training and practice. See our talented award winners here.

One delegate described the conference as ‘A fabulous, inspiring and most rewarding day’ and said ‘it even surpassed last year’s Conference, which I did not think possible. I met some lovely therapists too.’ 

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