NHS Lothian physiotherapist scoops top award

An NHS Lothian Specialist Physiotherapist has scooped the Therapist of the Year title at the Scottish Health Awards 2017.

Andrea Wood was awarded the prestigious accolade at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh after she was nominated by the mum of a six-year-old patient.

Andrea, a specialist physiotherapist in Intensive Care at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, helped little Poppy Smith get back on her feet following a serious illness.

She said: “It is overwhelming and I am quite surprised and so touched.

“Poppy’s family were amazing and it was an honour and pleasure to work with them. For me to be able to help in any possible way was fantastic. To see how far she has come is just a delight.”

Andrea was awarded the title after Poppy and her mum Laura, from Gullane, East Lothian, put her name forward for the awards which took place on November 2 at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

They said they were so thankful for all of her dedication and hard work to help Poppy recover after she developed a severe reaction to a virus, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), just over a year ago.

The condition affected her spinal cord and caused painful nerve damage throughout her body.

Within 24 hours, Poppy had lost the ability to swallow and move her right arm. Then when her condition deteriorated further breathing became difficult and she developed pneumonia. She was sedated and ventilated and underwent a tracheotomy procedure.

It was feared that she would never walk again, but slowly Andrea and Poppy worked together, using innovative methods and “disco Fridays” to get her out of her wheelchair and back on her feet.

Andrea said: “When you work in the NHS, you want to care for patients. So if it takes me five minutes at the end of my day to build a relationship by reading a story or to come in on my day off to ensure the right equipment is there, then it is just a few minutes here or there to me. But it could make a huge difference to a family.

“To enable Poppy to get out and about is more important than a couple of hours out of my day.”

“I don’t see it as going above and beyond. I just see it as being my job. I work with an amazing team and we all work together to help children progress.”

Professor Alex McMahon, Nurse Director, NHS Lothian, said: “We are immensely proud of Andrea and the rest of the team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. We are delighted that her hard work and dedication has been recognised across Scotland.

“Andrea and the team do a marvellous job day in day out to provide the best quality of care, which for many children and their families can be life-changing.

“We are also really grateful to Poppy and her family for recognising the positive impact that Andrea has had on her life and taking the time to nominate her for such a prestigious award.”