An innovative approach to staff training and patient care has taken Horder Healthcare’s lead physiotherapist to the European Region of the World Congress of Physical Therapy in Liverpool. As an example of good practice, he will share with his fellow clinicians and health care managers how his framework, which combines staff competency measures with outcomes for patients is working positively for both groups.
Matthew Carr, who became Horder’s musculoskeletal physiotherapy manager in 2012, brought the two sets of measures together into one framework, aiming both to support the staff in their professional development and to improve patients’ experiences and outcomes.
He said: “Clinical supervision to support staff development is very common, as is the use of patient outcomes, but it is unique to use competency frameworks that give staff objective scores to demonstrate their competence in the various aspects of assessment and treatment planning.
“Linking the two is innovative; even though the team has grown rapidly, from a handful of therapists when I started to 32 now, we have seen staff skill levels increasing alongside an increase in significant improvements in patients’ conditions – that latter measure rising from 66% to over 90% at its peak.”
Horder Healthcare holds a large NHS contract in the South East providing about 50% of all physiotherapy across two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Sussex for patients with musculoskeletal problems.
The framework, which affects staff at all Horder’s physiotherapy sites – at Crowborough, Seaford, Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells – has not only had benefits for patients but is also welcomed by staff.
“Some clinicians are nervous about this supervision model when they first come across it,” Matthew said, “but in all our staff feedback, our team are positive about our focus and support for clinical skills improvement. It is not difficult to get used to and staff engagement has been high throughout. It means that we can take people straight out of university and bring them up to a standard where patients begin to benefit very quickly.”
The framework covers all stages of staff contact with patients, from their first interview and diagnosis, through prognosis and different treatment choices, to treatment itself and end results.
He said: “This is an approach that can be tailored for both junior and senior staff and we review results every two months, looking at the trends to inform our in-service training needs. It is accomplishing what we intended – improvements for staff and for patients.”