Alex Penfold on Youth Mental Health Day 2023: Insights from a Mental Health Nurse and...
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BSc Physiotherapy, MSc Professional Health Studies
On qualifying as Physiotherapist from Queens College, Glasgow (1992), I started junior rotations in the North Staffordshire teaching hospitals. I soon moved to a senior rotational post within neurosciences and rehabilitation. During the years in this role, I gained skills in neurosurgery, neurology, complex and elderly rehabilitation. In 1996 I moved to New Zealand where I worked in a unit for Spinal Cord Injuries and neurological, brain injury rehabilitation.
On returning to the UK in 1999, I was employed as a specialist working in an NHS stroke and neurology unit for 18 years. Subsequently, I have worked in a community stroke team and neurological outpatients (all in the same NHS combined acute, community trust). I have thrived on the new challenges of re-establishing patients into their changed lives. I have specialist practical skills (normal movement, PNF, movement science), alongside wheelchair use and specialist skills treating spinal cord injuries.
I gained teaching qualifications that taught me to design and implement educational modules (for local universities) and practical clinical workshops using my physiotherapy skills. I have taught large numbers of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and care support workers, practical treatment and handling skills to enhance their clinical practice and handling of patients.
I have worked at Harrogate and District Hospital (North Yorks) as a Principal Physiotherapist (8a) for the acute and community stroke teams: acute neurology inpatient and out-patient teams (PT and OT). I have been integral in setting up the acute stroke unit and the community stroke and neuro team, which were not in existence previously. Within this role I regularly undertake clinical work either in the stroke / neurological rehab unit, out-patients or community.
In 2013, I created my independent physiotherapy service and I treat clients in their own homes who come to me directly or as the treating therapist via case management. As part of my independent work I have trained and presented workshops all over the country and as a guest lecturer at York St John University on the topics of Rehabilitation Principles, Facilitation, PNF and Managing the “Walking Wounded”.
I thrive on the complex challenges that clients present throughout their journey in my NHS and independent role. The specialist assessments, treatments and functional improvements that I facilitate in those with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, progressive conditions (eg MS Parkinson’s), cerebral palsy and learning disabilities keep me driven as a physiotherapist.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.