Supporting trauma patients through therapy

This month we’re celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Major Trauma Centre at Aintree University Hospital. To mark the occasion, we spoke to Alex Spearritt, Deputy Director of Allied Health Professions, who has worked closely with the centre since it opened.

“I have always had a keen interest in the trauma aspect of physiotherapy so when I heard the news about Aintree opening the Major Trauma Centre, I knew it was where I wanted to work.

“My first NHS post was at the Royal after I qualified in 2002. I joined as a Junior Physiotherapist, which I did for two years before moving to Alder Hey. I was constantly looking for ways to develop my career and take on new challenges, so after four years at Alder Hey, I moved to London to take up the post of Burns Trauma Therapy Team Leader at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

“I was taken on at Aintree as Major Trauma Therapy Team Leader in 2012 and the day the Major Trauma Centre went live was my first day. The centre and helipad, which were officially opened by Prince William in 2017, were built to treat some of the most seriously injured patients across the region and I felt ready for the challenge. The centre started off with four beds in Ward 1 and I was lucky enough to be involved with designing Ward 2, including the layout and therapy room. Fast forward ten years and we have treated over 11,100 patients there continues to be lots of exciting estate developments that will help to boost the care we provide.

“Working on the merger of Aintree and the Royal, which completed in 2019 and led to the creation of LUHFT, was one of the biggest projects I’ve worked on in my career. Across our hospitals we employ staff in ten out of the 14 allied health professions, so we had a lot of organisational re-structure across the various teams and departments. It’s been a challenge but it’s so rewarding and will make a real difference to patient care.

“I’m currently the Deputy Director of Allied Health Professions at LUHFT. I work alongside Liz Roden, Director of Allied Health Professions, as well as the heads of operations for imagining and therapies and the wider care groups. Part of our wider team is the Cheshire and Merseyside AHP Faculty which encompasses the 19 providers in the region representing AHPs. We are also currently working on a number of AHP workforce projects with Health Education England.

“We’re doing a lot of work with our local communities to plan for the future workforce and grow more AHPs. We’ve have been visiting local primary schools, high schools, colleges and career fairs to educate young people about the wide range of careers that are available within the allied health professions at LUHFT. AHPs are the third biggest staff group in the NHS and I’m keen to raise the profile of AHPs whilst promoting the individuality of the professions.

“Outside of work and since qualifying as a Physiotherapist, I have been an active member of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy (CSP) as a health and safety rep, workplace steward and regional steward. More recently I was elected to take up a seat on the CSP council. I hope to raise the profile of LUHFT through my national role as well as making a difference for colleagues in my profession.

“Away from work, I love spending time with my 12-year-old daughter. We are both massive Liverpool fans and we never miss a game!”