20 June 2018

NICE backed award for physiotherapist helping to improve patients’ quality of life

Laura McNeillie picks up NICE award at Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s awards

A physiotherapist who developed a specialist rehabilitation programme for patients with lung disease has been honoured.

Laura McNeillie received the NICE into Action award, at the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s awards for developing a new pulmonary rehabilitation programme tailored for patients with interstitial lung disease.

Laura’s work as a specialist respiratory physiotherapist at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust saw patients undertake a dedicated programme of exercise which will help improve their quality of life.

The inaugural NICE Into Action award was launched to highlight the use of NICE guidance or quality standards in practice by either individuals or teams.

NICE guidelines aim to improve the quality of life for people with the disease by helping healthcare professionals to diagnose the condition and provide effective symptom management.

Laura said: “I'm absolutely speechless to have won the award. It's been absolutely brilliant a new service has been recognised like this and I'm really thrilled for the multidisciplinary team (MDT).

“The patients have loved having their own service rather than being lumped with the COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients for the exercise group. They are a very different client group and the patient feedback has been absolutely brilliant, they have much preferred being in their own interstitial lung disease programme.”

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE said: “NICE has issued a lot of recommendations for allied health professionals and the professions' drive, energy and enthusiasm to put those recommendations into practice has made great improvements for patient care.”

Laura was presented with her award by Professor Leng at the ceremony held at Royal College of Physicians, in London.

Also working with Laura on the development of the programmes were: Dr Ian Forrest, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Clinical lead Newcastle ILD service; Mrs Claire Donaldson, Nurse Specialist ILD at NUTH; Mrs Julie Harper, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Marie Curie Hospice; Dr Anne-Marie Bourke, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Marie Curie Hospice; Mrs Francesca Chambers, Advanced Specialist Physiotherapist at NUTH; Mr Maher Al Quaimi, Research Assistant; Prof John Simpson, Consultant Respiratory Physician, NUTH; Dr Sarah Wiscombe, Consultant Respiratory Physician, NUTH; Dr Chris Ward, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University.

Interstitial lung disease is a group of chronic respiratory conditions including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The main symptoms are distressing breathlessness, cough, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

Those with the disease are have a life expectancy of three to five years from diagnosis.

The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s awards aim to celebrate the significant contribution and impact of the allied health professions (AHPs) to improving health, care and wellbeing, at both a population and individual level and across the life course.

Among the other finalists were, stroke physiotherapists Christopher Dyer, Natalie Sharp and Francesca Browning, of the Mid Cheshire Foundation NHS Trust, for their work in improving patient activity on the stroke unit and efficiency of the workforce.

The third finalists were Laura Charlesworth, Daniel Hutton and the Smokefree team at Sheffield Hallam University for their work on No ifs No butts; Clatterbridge’s Journey to a smoke free trust.

The professions' drive, energy and enthusiasm to put those recommendations into practice has made great improvements for patient care.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE

I'm absolutely speechless to have won the award.

Award winner Laura McNeillie