Posted on: 7 July 2022

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“Whether helping to deliver a clinical trial, supporting patients to access the latest research opportunities, or adapting current practices in line with new findings – delivering research is everyone’s business across the NHS.”

Keynote speaker Dr Cherry Kilbride set the scene for our annual Therapies Conference, where over 200 therapists and allied health professionals met in-person for the first time in two years. Brunel University played host to the hybrid conference; a place for practitioners to exchange ideas on research, innovative thinking, and open helpful dialogue. Over 60 staff joined us online throughout the day. 

Watch it back online here (opens link)

Dr Kilbride, who joined the NHS in 1985, is an Associate Professor in Rehabilitation and Research Director at the Brunel Partners Academic Centre for Health Sciences (BPACHS). She spoke about starting her path into research, and fostering a culture of enquiry and positive questioning. 

cherry kilbride.jpg“Research brings benefits and it’s not a luxury,” she said. “We know what’s important and what drives our patients. Don’t wait for everything to be in place, it never will be. Take the risk, grasp opportunities and fly the flag for research.”

Mark Sanderson, our second keynote speaker, spoke about the value of peer support and lived experience in the NHS, as well as the limited evidence base in this area.

Born in Zimbabwe, Mark moved to the UK at the age of 19, hoping to work as a pastry chef. Those hopes were overshadowed by his experience of psychosis and the treatments that followed. In 2016, Mark changed his career to health care, working in various roles at CNWL, and currently the Lead Advanced Lived Experience Practitioner in Milton Keynes. 

mark sanderson.jpgMark shared findings from his MSc in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, discussing his challenges and recommendations:

“Lived experience is so diverse… and in CNWL we have over 100 paid peer support roles. Within the NHS, leadership roles for peer support workers is lacking, and we need to lead on research; to challenge hierarchies, tackle stigma and discrimination, and develop insights into the entire profession.”

In between keynote presentations, attendees joined various breakout sessions and expo stands; an exploration of the latest innovations in healthcare. Fred Company treated us to a Virtual Reality (VR) Experience Room, including headsets loaded with games, mindfulness and creative experiences. They have been helping to research wellbeing and VR within the Trust.

Search 'Therapies Conference 2022' on Trustnet to watch the recordings from the breakout sessions. 

Everyone joined in for a staff wellbeing session Voices Together, led by our dance and music therapists.

To watch back the videos we shared during the conference, click the links below:

Video Title Link
Research in Action Watch here (opens link)
Celebrating our Support Workers Watch here (opens link)
Innovative student placement models Watch here (opens link)
Greener Trust’s Innovation in Sustainability Watch here (opens link)
CNWL Arts in Health Online Exhibition 2021 Watch here (opens link)

Our Director of Therapies, Dr Ryan Kemp, closed the conference by reflecting on the day, and asked everyone to commit to making a difference in the next year. “No matter how brilliant the care we deliver is - we need to deliver better.”

Thank you to our speakers, everyone who attended and Brunel University for hosting the event.