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.

Celebrating the winners

Winner guide cropped.jpg

To celebrate the success of our 2018 FHT Excellence Awards winners who were announced at our 2018 FHT Conference in November, we’ve produced a special brochure where you can learn more about their work and why our judges thought they were deserving of their award.  Click here to read our special winners guide .

And for those that didn’t attend the conference but would like to experience some of the inspiring talks that were given by the expert speakers at the event, we’ve put together a highlights video with some of the best bits.

Thank you to everyone that attended the conference and made it one of our best events yet. We hope to see you at the next one.

FHT award winner profile: Gwyn Featonby

Gwyn Featonby PR

Complementary therapist and training provider at an NHS approved school, Gwyn Featonby, won the title of 2018 FHT Tutor of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

The award was presented to Gwyn 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.

A qualified nurse, Gwyn has been practicing complementary therapies for over 30 years. Much of her work has been within hospitals and hospices, where she used therapies to help adults and children manage symptoms related to cancer and other long-term or life-threatening conditions. Today she is education lead at an NHS approved school, which she helped to develop as part of a dedicated team.

The NHS Natural Health School is dedicated to training the next generation of expert therapists, and is part of a self-sustaining model that provides free treatments to patients at a Macmillan cancer centre based in the same hospital. It’s at this school that Gwyn delivers a unique NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapies – a competency-based programme that provides Level 3 students with the skills and experience necessary to practice in an NHS setting and ensure they meet the needs of patients with complex health needs.

In the words of someone who provided a supporting testimonial for Gwyn’s award entry, ‘she is very modest in her achievements but I, and a lot of others in the complementary therapy field, know that she is an amazing practitioner, an informative, knowledgeable and approachable teacher and a pioneer in the complementary therapy field.’

Speaking about her win, Gwyn says: ‘I am delighted to have won the award for FHT Tutor of the year. It is a privilege to be part of a learner’s journey, whether it’s someone new to the industry, or a practitioner wanting to gain more specialist knowledge.

‘Highly skilled and enthusiastic practitioners are key to the provision of quality assured and effective complementary therapy. To be recognised as having a small part in enabling the development of such practitioners is a great honour, not just for me, but for the whole team at the NHS Natural Health School. We are so proud of our learners and graduates, and never forget that they choose to study with us. We strive to help them achieve the very best that they can, but success is only possible with their own enthusiasm and hard work.’

FHT award winner profile: Brian Jauncey, MFHT

Awards Student of the Year winner Brian Jauncey PR

Brian Jauncey won the title of 2018 FHT Student of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

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

Brian entered the field of complementary therapy as a mature student at the age of 42. The simple act of twisting to get out of a car one day resulted in two prolapsed discs which meant he couldn’t work for 16 weeks, leaving his career as a welder in jeopardy. Spinal surgery was recommended, which he promptly refused, and it was when trying different therapies to help with his back problem that Brian discovered the benefits of massage and acupuncture. In his own words, ‘Through these modalities, I was able to manage my pain, mobility and quality of life to a degree that I never thought possible’.

With the support of his family, he decided to enrol onto a BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapy for Healthcare degree at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, so that he could help others in a similar situation. Brian quickly developed a passion for learning and as the nominated representative for his course, helped to promote the university at open days, performing demonstrations and talking to prospective students. Having just gained a first for his degree, he is already looking at other ways to expand his skills and knowledge.

Speaking about his win, Brian says: ‘I’m very proud to receive the Student of the Year Award, and to receive recognition by an organisation such as the FHT is a great honour. I am continuing my studies with a PGCE course, alongside running my own practice, Heka Complementary and Alternative Therapies, in Wrexham. I’m then hoping to go on to do a Masters degree.’

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 award winner profile: Jane Sheehan, MFHT

FHT member Jane Sheehan has won the title of 2018 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year.

Awards Comp Therapist Winner Jane Sheehan PR

Jane Sheehan (right) with FHT Vice President and awards judge, Mary Dalgleish (left)

The award was presented to Jane 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.

Jane’s burning ambition had always been to successfully integrate complementary therapies into mainstream care. It was an ambition she went on to realise in 2009, when she took on the role of complementary therapy coordinator at an NHS Specialist Palliative Care Hospice in Norwich.

Drawing on 36 years of experience as a qualified nurse and 29 years as a complementary therapist, Jane developed the existing complementary therapy service, to create a safe delivery model that would benefit patients, therapists and health care professionals alike. Among other achievements she was responsible for:

  • bringing the therapy service in line with clinical governance
  • developing a robust complementary therapy policy
  • creating a sustainable delivery model, with therapists employed by the NHS, providing security for the therapists and ensuring patients could continue to receive valuable care
  • expanding the number and range of therapy sessions available
  • designing a bespoke model of care for patients wanting care at home
  • developing protocols for using aromatherapy for malodourous wound care
  • introducing MYCAW to measure patient-related outcomes, and
  • providing experiential learning for health care staff to promote therapy awareness.

Jane’s nomination was supported by dozens testimonials and letters of support from clients, colleagues, training providers and industry experts, including clinical aromatherapist and author, Dr Jane Buckle.

Speaking about her win, Jane says: ‘I am totally over the moon and feel very privileged to receive the prestigious 2018 FHT Complementary Therapist of the Year award for work that brings together my nursing background and complementary therapy training. I wanted to inspire others and raise awareness of what can be achieved in complementary therapy development in the NHS specialist palliative care setting. This is for every single therapist working in a hospice. Thank you to my colleague, Margaret Ayres, who put my name forward for this award, and to all those who have supported me. And thank you to the FHT.’

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 Jane should be exceptionally proud to be selected from a pool of high-calibre peers, in awards that are recognised across the industry. Well done.’

Read an article by Jane from International Therapist, issue 125