Former Health Foundation award holder Jane Cumming has been appointed as the first lead consultant physiotherapist for prosthetics in the NHS at South Tees trust.
Ms Cumming was awarded a leading practice through research award three years ago, which allowed her to devote half her time for two and a half years to developing research expertise and leadership skills. This research led to her new appointment.
During her award, Ms Cumming chose to focus on older people who had been amputated above the knee and were using a prosthetic leg called a transfemoral prosthesis.
Through her research, she was able to make changes in prosthetic service provision towards a more flexible, patient-centred service based on best evidence. Workforce plans were also developed to provide an alternative skills mix, including an extended role for physiotherapists. Following the success of this service design, momentum built for the creation of her role.
The changes in the service have also been reflected in changes to staff morale and effectiveness. Ms Cumming's prosthetic services team, supported by the neurosciences division, was also shortlisted for a trust excellence in innovation award. "Team members are enjoying new ways of working and increased autonomy in practice, she says. "We have recently run a patient satisfaction survey (now being analysed), but to date we have experienced mainly positive feedback."