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Staff Profiles

Francois Lewis - Physiotherapist

The Trust has over 200 physiotherapists and they played a vital role as we responded to the FrancoisCovid-19 pandemic.  Usually, they're based across services, including pain, falls, paediatrics, pulmonary rehab, musculoskeletal and acute & community inpatients. They also care for patients in their own homes. As services across the NHS paused, 28 physiotherapists were redeployed to care for inpatients at UHND and DMH.  Adult physiotherapy lead, Nicola Emery, said, "As we learnt more about the effects Covid-19 has, physiotherapy played an increasingly important role in their care, particularly during rehabilitation.  We were able to create a seven day service on both sites, supporting patients with all aspects of their physical recovery, including some who had been in ITU for a long period and needed intensive support and others who were young and had been very fit prior to becoming ill.  We saw them a couple of times a day so got to know them well.  Physiotherapy doesn't view the patient in isolation, our approach is holistic, using cognitive behavioural therapy when needed.  In some cases, the mental impact of the disease is as devastating as the physical."   

Chronicle Live recently ran profiles of a number of individual members of #TeamCDDFT, as we marked the 72nd Birthday of the NHS, including physiotherapist, Francois Lewis, who is based at DMH.  As outpatient clinics paused, Nicola, Francois and their colleagues moved quickly to support patients already in their care.  Francois explains, "We phoned every patient explaining the situation, performing a verbal assessment of their current condition offering advice and directing them to useful information - we also revamped our website as part of this response. Of course, there were patients we still needed to see face to face such as those where physiotherapy is essential in the initial period following surgery or for a patient with a broken leg, for example.  We've launched a virtual clinic, where patients can have a video consultation.  Patients can show us the problems they're having and we can show them exercises.  It seems to work very well and it's a development we'll keep for the future."


We rely on the hard work and dedication of each member of #TeamCDDFT.  The procurement team work hard without fanfare ensuring we have the supplies we need. In recent months this has, at times, required them to go above and beyond what would normally be expected of them - which they did without hesitation.  We're both proud and grateful.    

Lindsay Harris - Associate director of procurement

Lindsay heads the procurement team which is responsible for, "buying goods, services and works into the organisation."  During the pandemic, Lindsay has Lindsay Harrisbeen responsible for ensuring the Trust has adequate supplies of PPE - Personal Protective Equipment which, in line with other NHS organisations, has proved challenging at times. "I'm so proud of our team for their overall response, working together and for not seeing anything as too much trouble - including receiving deliveries during the night. One of the positive things that has come out of this situation is the support from the community, our local suppliers and also the many educational and other establishments that donated their own PPE supplies for our front line colleagues. It is a privilege to protect our staff and we are so grateful for the support, it has been humbling.  In fact, we've established new and reinforced existing relationships which will be a huge help as we move forward

 Published 29th June 2020


Tony McCoy - Macmillan clinical nurse specialist and Queen's Nurse.

Profiles shine a line on you - our colleagues across services who dedicate themselves to their roles, day in day out.  We'll be bringing you more of these, starting today with Tony McCoy: Tony McCoy

"I work in the community, looking after patients with life limiting conditions, including cancer.  I offer symptom management and emotional support.  During the pandemic we've been challenged to work in different ways.  I still visit patients in their home but have had to find alternatives to the close contact that's always been an important part of what we do.  Wearing a mask, the patient can only see my eyes, they can't see me smiling at them.  So I make sure to use eye contact and choose my words very carefully as verbal communication has become more important.  Some patients have asked me not to come because they're isolating and scared, they prefer a phone call.  I worry about them being isolated so try to make sure that during the phone call I connect with them every bit as closely as if we were in the same room.    

"We're also using video consultations which are great and will certainly be important in the future - the next best thing to face to face.  Plus, there's no travel time so calls can be longer or I can consult with more patients.  I've worked much more closely with district nurses re-thinking how best to coordinate our two roles, giving patient's the care they need while reducing footfall in their house. It all works well but I really miss being able to hug my patients."

Published 24th June 2020

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham