School for thought

FHT’s Editor and Communications Manager, Karen Young, visits the NHS Natural Health School team in North Yorkshire

NHS Natural Health lo-res

From left to right: Karen Young, Gwyn Featonby, Beverley Harrison, Sarah Grant, and NHS Natural Health School student, Lorraine Cole

One cold morning in January, I travelled from Southampton to Harrogate to meet with Gwyn Featonby, Sarah Grant and Beverley Harrison – three members of the award-winning team that head up the NHS Natural Health School, based at Harrogate District Hospital, Harrogate and District Foundation Trust (HDFT).

I only had time to spend a few hours with this lovely trio but it was well worth the 500-mile round trip (actually, make that 507, because I overshot Harrogate station, checking emails on my phone!).

The school, which was officially launched in May 2018, is the first NHS-approved and owned complementary therapy school, run by NHS employees. It was developed to create a self-sustaining model of care for patients, delivered by therapists trained to the highest standards of care expected of any health professional working within the NHS. But as the team will be more than happy to tell you, this didn’t just happen ‘overnight’ – it took four years and a lot of hard work to get to where they are today.

When Sarah took on the role of Patient Information and Health and Wellbeing Manager at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, HDFT, in 2014, part of her responsibility was to develop and improve the existing complementary therapy service. At the time, it comprised of six self-employed therapists, who took turns to provide four hours of treatment a week to self-referring patients. While the therapists offered a very good level of service, there was no consistency for those accessing treatment, and no measures in place to show the true value of the service to patients and staff. As such, it was seen as more of a ‘nice to have’, informal spa, than a service that offered real therapeutic potential.

Sarah quickly set to work to future-proof and improve the complementary therapy service. As well as securing dedicated space for delivering therapies and training within the newly built Centre, Julie Crossman, MFHT – one of the original therapy team members – was tasked with overseeing an audit of the complementary therapy service using MYCAW*, so that they could start to build an evidence base of the treatments provided. A little later Sarah brought Gwyn on board, to develop a therapy training programme that would meet both CQC (Care Quality Commission) and industry standards and equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to work confidently and safely with patients with complex health needs.

When I walked into the Centre less than a fortnight ago, I have to say, it felt very calm and welcoming, and as if the NHS Natural Health School has been running smoothly for many years as opposed to months. Today, the model created by Sarah, Gwyn and the team means that for each cohort of students they have on a training pathway at a time, 72 patients are removed from the complementary therapy service waiting list.

Self-referring is also a thing of the past, with all patients now being referred by a health professional working at the Centre. Many of these health professionals have experienced the treatments first-hand, after accessing these when a patient has cancelled or been unable to attend an appointment. Others have simply seen how different therapies have helped to resolve issues such as pain management or sleep difficulties in patients, which previously might have required referral to a specialist, costing the NHS even more precious time and money.

Sarah also highlighted that an unexpected benefit of providing health professionals access to the complementary therapy service is that they feel valued and cared for, and as word travels fast in the medical community, this has vastly helped to improve recruitment at the hospital. Staff who feel valued are also more likely to volunteer to do overtime, because they’re happy to ‘give a little something back’.

So, what’s next? Once the team are completely happy with the model, they hope to introduce it to other departments within the hospital and then, ultimately, license it out to other Trusts, so that these too can benefit from a self-sustaining complementary therapy service, which has quality and patient-centred care at the core. It certainly seems to be a win-win situation for all involved – namely a struggling NHS system, over-burdened health professionals in danger of burn out, therapists in need of hands-on experience working with complex patients and, most importantly, patients in need of support.

Keen to learn more about the NHS Natural Health School and team?

Read an article by Gwyn about the NHS Natural Health School

Learn more about Gwyn winning 2018 FHT Tutor of the Year

Read about Gwyn and Julie winning a Complementary Therapy Award 2018

*MYCAW (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing) is a patient-reported outcome measure often use by complementary therapists working in cancer care.

FHT award winner profile: Alison Brown, FFHT

FHT Fellow, complementary therapist and business mentor, Alison Brown, has won an award for providing support and advice to other professional therapists in her area (and beyond…)

Awards LSG Coordinator winner Alison Brown PR

The award was presented to Alison at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November.

Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to qualified practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy, who are promoting high standards in therapy training and practice.

As well as being a successful and busy complementary therapist herself, Alison is the founder of Ali’s Therapy Academy, providing business support and advice to other professional therapists who are excellent at giving treatments but perhaps lack the confidence or knowledge in how to market themselves effectively.

On top of that she’s also an FHT Local Support Group (LSG) Coordinator for the Worthing area. This is a voluntary role that aims to provide support, advice and learning opportunities to other local FHT members, through regular meetings and activities. As many therapists are self-employed, these are great opportunities for them to network, offer mutual support, and expand their knowledge and skill set.

Like all of FHT’s Coordinators – who, collectively, head up more than 60 groups across the UK – Alison goes to a great deal of effort to provide her group with a varied calendar of events each year. This includes treatment exchanges and talks from different health, wellbeing and business experts. However, what made her nomination for the 2018 FHT Local Support Group Coordinator of the Year Award stand out from the rest was that she was nominated by an FHT member who doesn’t live in her area and hasn’t physically attended any of her meetings.

For personal reasons, the member who nominated her is unable to travel to the group meetings near where she lives, but she has been able to enjoy the content of Alison’s meetings through Skype, webinars and other online platforms. In her own words, ‘In many industries, the way in which Alison works is commonplace, indeed essential to business performance, yet online communication for some reason is behind in the complementary healthcare world. Through her knowledge of social media, she has been able to share information with those who are unable to attend their local FHT meetings. Alison has far exceeded the requirements set out by the FHT to provide a local support group.’

Speaking about her win, Alison says: ‘I am very honoured to win this FHT award and to be recognised by a national organisation. It gives me confirmation and pride in what I do and achieve. This award is also for my local group – we come together to support one another’

Read more about FHT local support groups

FHT award winner profile: Nefeli Tsiouti, MFHT

Cyprus-based sports massage therapist, choreographer and dancer, Nefeli Tsiouti, won the title of 2018 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year.

Awards Sports Therapist of the Year - Nefeli Tsiouti

Nefeli Tsiouti (centre), with award sponsor, Charlie Preston, from Physique Management (left) and FHT Vice President and awards judge, Herman Fenton (right)

The award, sponsored by Physique Management, was presented to Nefeli at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

An international member of the FHT, Nefeli is a sports massage therapist with a background in dance and dance science. As such, the focus of her work and research has been to improve health and reduce injury in dancers, performing artists and other movers in general. From first-hand experience, Nefeli knows how prone this group is to injury and that some performers, such as breakers (or break dancers), are not invested in properly when it comes to injury prevention education. To address this, she collaborated with other dance and medical experts to conduct research and offer conditioning, strengthening and injury prevention workshops and lectures to dancers in several different countries. She is also currently still conducting research into dancers’ injuries, physiology and biomechanics, as an Associate Researcher at Cyprus Musculoskeletal and Sports Trauma Research Centre, and collaborating with universities in the UK and Brasil.  

In addition, Nefeli recently received first prize, along with a prize for Most Innovative Idea, at a EUC-Peak Entrepreneurial competition for business start-ups in Cyprus, where she pitched her idea to investors regarding a Performing Arts Medicine and Science Institute that she will be launching in 2020 in Cyprus.

Speaking about her win, Nefeli says: ‘I am honoured to have received the Sports Therapist of the Year award since it gives me international recognition for my work as a researcher and a therapist. FHT has been a very supportive organisation, and I know that this award will open many more doors for me and my career.’

Christopher Byrne, President of the FHT, says: ‘These awards are designed to recognise individuals who are excelling in therapy practice and education and are an inspiration to others. Winners like Nefeli should be exceptionally proud to be selected from a pool of high-calibre peers, in awards that are recognised across the industry. Well done.’

 

FHT local support group news: Hertfordshire hears about healthy eating

Hertfordshire LSG.jpg

We always look for ways to bring informative speakers to FHT members in the Hertfordshire area and sometimes we go a little further and work with local businesses and organisations, writes Hertfordshire LSG coordinator Jay Chandarana.

Recently, we got in touch with the owners of a new vegan place in town (Letchworth Garden City) and asked if they would like to present a talk on ‘How to eat healthy the vegan way’.

To our delight, the two brothers took our offer and helped us with promoting the event and using their premises. What a great cost saving. The evening was open to members and non-members. The talk was so inspiring and educational: it covered nutritional information on vegan foods that can cover the national healthy eating recommendations.

It gave information on how the brothers became vegan and, with the help of their mum, opened a vegan café.

The evening closed with some sample foods, such as pieces of jackfruit burger, smashed chickpea and mayonnaise sourdough sandwiches, and raw courgette and walnut crackers.

We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Autumn 2018 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles—from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.

 

Winners of new Complementary Therapy Awards announced

CTA2018 group shot of winners

The FHT was proud to be involved in the presentation of the inaugural Complementary Therapy Awards, which took place on 18 October at a special celebratory lunch held in London.

Organised by Chamberlain Dunn, these new, independent awards aim to celebrate practitioners, teams and advocates who are enhancing the health and wellbeing of others through a variety of initiatives that focus on an integrated approach to patient-centred care.

As platinum sponsor, FHT’s Governing Council and staff enjoyed working closely with organisers, Chamberlain Dunn, throughout the development and promotion of these new awards, from offering guidance on the different awards categories, through to supporting the shortlisting and judging process, and presenting the FHT Award for Complementary Therapy Research on the day.

The winners of the Complementary Therapy Awards 2018 are:

Overall Winner

Angie Buxton-King (Director, Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust)

‘Integrating healing into hospitals and hospices’

The Award for Prevention and Self-Care

Roberta Meldurm (Director, The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living)

‘Positive Movement – a wellbeing programme for older people’

The Award for Cancer Care

Angie Buxton-King (Director, Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust)

‘Integrating healing into hospitals and hospices’

The Award for Palliative Care

Elaine Cooper (Clinical Lead Specialist Complementary Therapies) and Rachel Clark

Lead Complementary Therapist Palliative Care), Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

‘25 years – Complementary therapies in NHS palliative care’

The FHT Award for Complementary Therapy Research

Nicola Brough (Clinic Director, Torus Wellbeing Clinic) and Sarah Stewart-Brown (Professor and Chair of Public Health, University of Warwick)

‘Development and validation of the Warwick Holistic Health Questionnaire (WHHQ): assessing changes in health and wellbeing of Craniosacral Therapy/CAM users’

The Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Naji Malak (Co-founder and CEO, Stand Easy Military Support)

‘Stand Easy Military Support’

Special mention: Nicolle Mitchell, Holistic Massage Practitioner, FHT Member and FHT Accredited Training Provider – Massage for dementia

The Award for Pain Management, Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation

Gina Reinge (Sports Therapist, The Reinge Clinic)
‘Adhesive arachnoiditis case study’

The Award for Furthering Integrated Healthcare

Gwyn Featonby (Education Lead and FHT Accredited Course Provider) and Julie Crossman (Complementary Therapy Lead and FHT Member), NHS Natural Health School

‘Harrogate Hospital NHS complementary therapies in cancer service’

CTA2018 Chris with Nicola Brough

FHT President Christopher Byrne  presents the The FHT Award for Complementary Therapy Research to Nicola Brough

 

Christopher Byrne, President of the FHT, was involved in shortlisting two of the Complementary Therapy Awards categories, including The FHT Award for Complementary Therapy Research. ‘The FHT has been at the forefront of promoting high standards in therapy training and practice for more than 50 years, which is why we were extremely proud to support  these new awards,’ says Christopher. ‘In addition to our own FHT Excellence Awards, which have been celebrating success for eight years, these Complementary Therapy Awards will help to bring further recognition to the important role professional therapists have to play in not just supporting the pubic, but also the integrated healthcare agenda as a whole, which is one of FHT’s key objectives.

‘Our heart-felt congratulations to all of the winners and finalists, but we would like to give a special mention to those who are FHT Members, FHT Accredited Course Providers or former FHT Excellence Award winners – namely Kelly De Souza, Gywn Featonby, Julie Crossman, Dr Julie McCullough, Nicolle Mitchell, Zoe Warner and Dr Carol Samuel – as well as the winners of The FHT Award for Complementary Therapy Research, Nicola Brough and Professor Stewart-Brown.

More information can be found in Chamberlain Dunn’s official Complementary Therapy Awards 2018 Winners’ Guide and the FHT will be featuring the winners in International Therapist magazine – look out for future issues.

NHS doctor in the house for North Birmingham FHT Local Support Group

North Birmingham reiki

The North Birmingham FHT Local Support Group welcomed Dr Sukhdev Singh at a recent meeting at the Cancer Support Centre in Sutton Coldfield, writes group coordinator Alison Clamp.

Dr Singh is an NHS consultant at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, who specialises in gastrointestinal complaints. He has many years’ experience in this field but has also trained in hypnotherapy, mindfulness and yoga. He is very interested in natural health and the importance of a positive outlook to health; at the hospital, he holds regular yoga and mindfulness classes.

During his hypnotherapy training, he became very aware of the importance of being listened to by someone with an open, loving heart and that was a large part of any treatment he could offer. His path in life led him to discover reiki and a therapist named Sandy Edwards. Sandy offered reiki in his clinic at Good Hope Hospital and Dr Singh often signposted patients to her that he felt could benefit from treatment. He expressed the frustration that doctors can feel when patients don’t respond to treatment and aren’t sure what to do next. These were the type of patients he referred to reiki.

Sandy managed to obtain funding for a seven-year study, during which reiki was offered to patients. Two research papers have so far been published on the study, ‘Experiences of healing therapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease’ (2015) and ‘A pragmatic randomised controlled trial of healing therapy in a gastroenterology outpatient setting’ (2017).

The Cancer Support Centre offers many therapies, and some service users attended the meeting. They endorsed the therapies, saying how they improved wellbeing and quality of life for themselves and their families.

The evening concluded with an interesting discussion on the role of complementary therapies in mainstream medicine and around the cause of illnesses in general. Dr Singh asserted that people in general get ill because of toxic relationships, poor food and lack of exercise.

We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Summer 2018 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.

FHT member awarded for contribution to the NHS

Cavell Star awardCongratulations to FHT member, Jane Tomlinson-Wightman. Jane has received a Cavell Star Award, recognition for driving complementary therapy services within the NHS.

Cavell Star Awards are given to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who show exceptional care to their colleagues, patients or patients’ families.

A reflexologist and Lead Midwife for Safe Active Birth at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), Jane was nominated by her team for her dedication to the wellbeing of patients and colleagues.

Jane introduced the use of complementary therapies within the UHMBT, offering reflexology, aromatherapy and massage to colleagues and women using maternity services. She even attended college classes after full shifts to learn as much as she could about how complementary therapies could be beneficial within the NHS.

Speaking of her award win, Jane said,  ‘I’m very proud to win the award. Coming from my colleagues, it really means a lot to me. Sometimes we don’t stop and set time aside to care enough for each other. We carry on giving regardless, during times of work pressures with often stressful situations, but even a smile and a small act of kindness can make all the difference to someone’s day, can’t it?

‘My colleagues mean a lot to me, together we cannot do the job we do without the support of each other. And I just feel I’m giving my gratitude back to my team through offering them these therapies. If we look after our staff members, they in turn will feel willing and able to provide the best possible care for our women and families within maternity services.’

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