Awards for health workers

PHYSIOTHERAPY, nursing, podiatry, occupational therapy... is there nothing these women can't do?Because as part of their training to become 'generic workers' the talented NHS staff have also learnt about mental health, pharmacy, and diets.

PHYSIOTHERAPY, nursing, podiatry, occupational therapy... is there nothing these women can't do?

Because as part of their training to become 'generic workers' the talented NHS staff have also learnt about mental health, pharmacy, and diets.

Once they are qualified the aim of the 96 multi-skilled workers in Suffolk is to take a comprehensive look at patients and their problems, tackling a range of problems in one go if possible.

It is a new idea for Suffolk, and the country, and recently scooped NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, an award praising the innovation of the generic workers project.

Mandy Edwards, one of the generic workers who is based at Bluebird Lodge in Ravenswood, said: "I did 20 years as a health care assistant before retraining.

“Now I'm really benefiting from all the skills I've learnt. We're not replacing the other roles just doing our bit.

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“I've learnt about dementia and lots about occupational therapy which is really interesting and comes into everyday life.

“I can talk to GPs and physiotherapists and tell them what I have learnt about a patient from spending time with them.

“Above all our job is to give patients the confidence to let them live in their own homes and hopefully avoid going into hospital.

“And if we can't fix a problem we always know a man who can!”

Her colleague, Kim Swan, who is based at Ipswich Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department, said: “We can do one home visit and use all the skills at once, which is very useful.

“By learning about podiatry we realise that if someone is struggling to walk it might be because they are having problems with their toenails.

“Having a wide range of knowledge means you can really help patients.”

Have you been helped by a generic worker? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.