This week we spoke to Dawn Selwood-Fry, an extended scope physiotherapist who is also lead for our new telephone fracture clinic, a phone service allowing us to triage and provide help and advice more quickly to patients with broken bones or soft tissue injuries.
Lives: In Brentwood with sons Reuben, 13, and Monty, 10.
And: In 2013 Dawn won a UK dance championship for kizomba (an African style of dance), and went on the represent the UK in Portugal.
Tell us more about our virtual fracture clinic
It’s a new service which will not only help us to improve care for our patients with fractures and soft tissue injuries; it will also help us to reduce delays. Currently, they can wait up to 12 days for an appointment with our fracture clinic, whereas we’re able to offer a telephone consultation within 72 hours.
The aim of the clinic is to provide advice and support over the telephone so we can discharge more patients without them having to come in for face-to-face appointments. We aim for this to be around a third of patients. In the cases of more minor fractures and injuries, patients need advice and it’s not always necessary for them to come into clinic. Advice could include what to expect from their injury, what exercises they should be doing, questions about bathing with a sling or cast, using crutches or being referred for physiotherapy.
Of course those that do need to come in for appointment will still be able to. The new service will still benefit them too - as on the phone we can arrange investigations such as a scan if they need it and book it for them before they come to clinic appointments. This means their time and an appointment slot is not wasted if they come in simply to be told they need a scan. We can also provide advice on exercises, safety and functional support while they are waiting for the scan
We ran a two-week trial of the clinic before Christmas which worked really well, and we discharged 37 per cent of patients we spoke to. The patients loved it as it meant they didn’t have to worry about parking at our hospital, waiting in clinic or taking time off work if they didn’t need to.
We’re really keen to get a full service up and running now and we hope to do that within the next month, we’re finalising our processes and recruiting to the new posts we have created. We’ve got an admin and two clinical posts available which are being offered as internal secondments.
Where did the idea come from?
It’s something our consultant John Hambidge and I have wanted to introduce for a while. Last March we held our 3P event with The PRIDE Way team looking at the transformation of our outpatients’ services, so that gave us the opportunity and we put together a business case.
It’s a really exciting piece of work and when we launch the clinic we’ll need support from everyone, particularly those who come into contact with these patients, to help us reassure them that they’ll benefit from additional support and if they still need a face-to-face appointment, they’ll still be offered one.
You’ve been a physiotherapist for your entire career, how did you get into it?
I always wanted to do something medical right from when I was a child. I was fascinated by science and how the body works.
My predicted A-level results weren’t quite high enough to do medicine, however, by then I knew about physiotherapy and had channelled my efforts into that. I did some work experience at Springfield Hospital in Chelmsford when I was 17 and went to University College London to do a physiotherapy degree, which I loved doing.
My first job was a rotational role at Southend Hospital, then I decided to specialise in orthopaedics. I spent some time working in the private sector before I went travelling and working in Australia.
I went for 18 months on my own and met my (now ex) husband while I was there - bringing him with me when I came home! My training meant it was really easy to work over there so it was a great opportunity.
I worked in public and private healthcare in Australia and it wasn’t actually that different from the way we work here. My lifestyle was quite different though; I lived by the beach and went running alongside the ocean, I taught Salsa dance at the opera house in Sydney and I think I probably saw more of Australia than most Australians!
I was a locum for a bit when I got back before I joined our Trust as clinical lead for orthopaedics, working with trauma and elective patients in 2004. I stayed in that role until last year when I got involved in the fracture clinic, however, the role itself has changed hugely in that time and my team has doubled in size, the three hospital sites merged, and Queen’s Hospital opened.
And you’ve been a patient at our Trust too?
My eldest son was one of the first babies to be born at Queen’s Hospital – it had only been open for five weeks at the time. I remember being heavily pregnant with him when I was doing site visits wearing a hard hat to look around the new Queen’s Hospital before we moved over.
What made you decide to specialise in orthopaedics?
I love the drama of it and hearing people’s stories. I deal with major injuries like falls and car accidents. I like the rapid turnaround too as I like to see my patients getting better quickly.
One of my favourite things to do with my elderly patients is to ask them to tell me all about the changes they have seen in their lives. I find it really interesting hearing what they’ve lived through, and it makes them more comfortable at a difficult time.
What do you like to get to outside work?
I’ve been a dancer all my adult life, I started it as a hobby when I finished university I and ended up teaching for several years, and doing it competitively. I dance mostly salsa (from Cuba) and kizomba and semba (which are west African styles of dance).
In 2013 I won the kizomba UK championship with my dance partner, and represented the UK in Portugal where I came eighth. I don’t dance as much anymore due to injury but I dance when I can and there are festivals all over Europe, which I get to travel to with friends. I love the social side of it.
I’ve also always been very creative and after I had some surgery I did some sewing courses. I started making African print jewellery and clothes, which is the style everyone wears at dance events. I got lots of compliments and people started asking me to make things for them, so I started a small craft business.
One of my sons has autism, and with a busy job, I find my dance social life and my creative business are really important to me. They give me time out and an outlet to be creative, and help provide a healthy balance in my life.
If you know someone who’s got a really interesting job, history, hobby or has achieved something worth shouting about, we want to hear from them! Drop us a line at SM-Communications to nominate someone, or put your hand up yourself!