As a group of Physiotherapists and Osteopaths passionate about the best patient care and striving to further and refine our knowledge, the Octopus Clinic crew spend a lot of time with consultants. This is either in clinic, in case-discussion sessions or even in theatre and is a great way to refine that boundary between the care we offer patients as physiotherapists and osteopaths, and the land beyond. Knowing when to refer on for more input is imperative for patient care, and something that takes time to master the art of. It should be a two way street. It means finding the consultants you “click” with, those with an open-minded holistic view, and whose input enriches the patient care picture (and not sharpening scalpels the moment your referral letter lands in their inbox).
However, whilst we see in action consultants with their patients, most of the time they rely on verbal or written descriptions of our approach and scope of care. Naturally, then, a general view of physiotherapy or osteopathy forms rather than really understanding differences in approach between different clinicians. Hence, this exchange of expertise and knowledge over the boundary between physiotherapists, osteopaths and consultants has felt a little stronger in one direction. Until this week! It was with much delight that we had consultant Dr Ben Huntley coming to sit in in my clinic. Ben is a pain specialist and fountain of knowledge with an incredibly level-headed approach grounded in common sense. This enables him to use that knowledge in the best possible way, alongside his naturally excellent manner with patients. We often seek his input whether for acute, subacute or chronic pain patients.
My clinic was a morning osteopathy list with an interesting group of patients, all of whom loved having two of us there. We were able to talk through and reflect on some complex presentations and involve the patients in those discussions. Ben was enthusiastic and interested and was clearly chuffed to finally see the kinds of techniques and treatments we use in action. He was surprised at how thorough our examinations are and it also really struck him that we have the environment and time to really listen to our patients and tap in to their concerns, addressing what matters to them most. Music to my ears given that is what we strive for with our patients.
I am not the biggest fan of being observed in clinic but the session together really lifted my spirits. I love the atmosphere in clinic when there is open, sharing of knowledge and insight with a large dose of mutual respect. I am used to this being with my colleagues, but to have that with one of the top consultants we work with was brilliant: working together at the patient coal face was really special. This might have been the first time, but I hope it marks the first of many.
If you would like to join us to observe one of our Osteopaths or Physiotherapists or have any other suggestions on how we can work together please get in touch.
Hazel was educated at Cambridge University and the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London, where she graduated top of her class, winning the majority of clinic and year prizes. She regularly lectures in biomechanics, applied anatomy and orthopaedics in London and has for the last 4 years, lectured monthly in Sweden.
Hazel has been heavily involved in sport all of her life, and played hockey for England before injury cut her career short. Whilst turning her hand to pursuing her academic goals at Cambridge she remained playing hockey at the highest domestic level and gained 4 Blues, guiding Cambridge University to an unbeaten run in Varsity Matches. She is a very keen runner and has completed many events including the London Marathon and also enjoys skiing, hiking, swimming and traveling to keep active and fit.
Hazel has extensive clinical experience having spent her early-qualified years working alongside some of the top osteopaths in the country. With her background knowledge, this has given her a unique blend of skills, and makes her very popular with patients, many of whom had been treated unsuccessfully elsewhere.
Two main groups of patients form the majority of Hazels clients: those with sports injuries and those with office- and work-related pains. She successfully treats those with existing injuries as well as those wishing to prevent further strain, stiffness or injury by using exercise and training advice, manual techniques and correction of poor posture or poor movement patterns.
Hazel is very experienced in treating sports injuries of all kinds, with a specialisation in lower limb biomechanics and injuries. She has worked with many elite athletes, for example when she traveled to South Africa as osteopath for the female Barbarians Rugby team. She has also consulted for Wasps Ladies Rugby in West London, and was an official osteopath at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games London 2012, where she looked after athletes at the Rowing and Canoeing Village, an experience she describes as “simultaneously the most rewarding, humbling, inspiring and challenging work of my life!”
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