School of Health Sciences

Photo of Issy Taylor-Gallardo

Brighton students team with major healthcare provider

Brighton’s physiotherapy students have gained valuable practical experience as part of an innovative scheme with a leading UK community healthcare provider.

With grant support from Health Education England (HEE), Connect Health – the UK’s leading independent community provider of musculoskeletal services – will now be doubling its virtual placement programme for 2021, following the success of a four-month programme last year in which Brighton students took part.

The virtual programme is a response to issues finding traditional roles due to Covid-19 restrictions, which saw around half of courses across the UK paused for physiotherapy undergraduates. Connect Health’s pioneering initiative included training sessions using remote tools such as Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live, allowing consultations with patients and students around the world.

Brighton student Issy Taylor-Gallardo, pictured above, was one of those who took part. She said: “Doing a placement with Connect Health, I was able to take the theory I’d learnt at university into practise through assessing, diagnosing and treating patients with the supervision of a very supportive educator.

“I really developed my clinical reasoning, while also being able to run three live exercise classes on a topic of my choice on their Facebook page, which I loved! The clinicians I shadowed were great at facilitating learning for students by sharing their notes with us over MS teams.”

Fellow student Hannah Wadsworth added: “I found it amazing to have such a variety of practitioners to shadow virtually and learn from. You really do learn an incredible amount! I was worried at first to have the virtual placement but I definitely got a lot out of it!”

Matthew Wyatt, Consultant Physiotherapist & Clinical Lead at Connect Health, said: “Finding student placements is still a major struggle for universities due to Covid-19 restrictions and a serious worry for students who are unable to progress, graduate or join the workforce.

“We are very focused on developing the next generation of clinical graduates who bring energy and a fresh perspective to the workplace.”

Connect Health’s plan for 2021 is to continue to offer virtual placements while there is still a focus on remote working, while planning for a return to ‘business as usual’ which will embed learning from its virtual models into normal service structures. Placements will incorporate a range of clinical disciplines, including physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy, nursing, hand therapy, rheumatology and pain services.

Beverley Harden, Allied Health Professions Lead, Health Education England added: “We are delighted to be supporting the AHP Placement expansion bid with Connect Health which enables 200 additional student placements. This is vital to support placement recovery and growth.”

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Kerry Burnett • January 29, 2021


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