Andrew Walton

Member Article

CSP Fellowship for Connect Health founder, Andrew Walton

Andrew Walton, founder of North-East Headquartered Connect Health has been presented with a Fellowship from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) in recognition of his sustained contribution to the advancement of the physiotherapy profession.

Through his leadership, drive and influence which has delivered positive and progressive change in Musculoskeletal (MSK) practice and excellence in service delivery, Andrew has always been an early adopter of innovation, from self-referral and telephone triage to online assessment and enhanced digital health and wellbeing tools, models which have now become mainstream practice.

Commenting on the Fellowship, Andrew said: “I am honoured to have been recognised in this way. Looking back over my career, I have consistently tried to focus on doing what’s right for patients, deliver value for taxpayers by reducing waste and, as this is exclusively driven by colleagues, provided opportunities for others to develop and progress. Any successes I may be recognised for have only been achieved because I have always been surrounded by great people; leadership is a privilege, and this award can legitimately be shared by literally hundreds of colleagues over almost 30 years.

“Nevertheless, there is much more to be done than has been achieved so far and I hope I can further support the development of the profession and increase the recognition of the value that is added by many people and services in our sector.”

His focus on clinical effectiveness, service user and provider satisfaction as well as investing in data collection systems and robust infrastructure, has resulted in Connect Health being the largest provider of MSK and pain services in the UK, serving over 375k NHS patients pa across 50+ NHS CCGs/Trusts. The organisation has over five years of robust clinical outcome data comprising more than 400k completed data sets. This is used to inform further service improvement and an evolving evidence bank.

The latest CQC inspection (May 2021) attests to the quality of services provided with an overall rating of “good” for safety, effectiveness and caring, and an “outstanding” for the services being “well led”.

Andrew is most proud of the colleagues he has worked with over the years. Always thinking about the workforce of the future, the organisation has provided a sustainable investment in people, from the introduction of the Accelerated Development Programme (ADP) for all new staff with less than five years post qualification experience, leadership programmes for middle and senior managers and co-funded PhD studentships at Leeds Beckett University.

The organisation also provides 340 clinical placements for physiotherapy students from eight universities in one year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, under Andrew’s leadership the organisation moved quickly to support students by provision of virtual clinical placements and remote clinical supervision. This virtual clinical placement model enabled a 400% increase in student capacity compared with 2018–2019 with 182 students commencing placements between May and August 2020.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jayne Russell .

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