Creating a network with other healthcare professionals helps to deliver the highest standards of patient care
7 June 2022
Clive Lathey, an osteopath and sports injury specialist, explains how he regularly works in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to benefit his patients.
Working alongside other healthcare professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team is an essential part of my work as an osteopath, ensuring I am able to achieve the best possible outcome for my patients.
The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy, which I founded in 2005, is a medical care facility that takes a biopsychosocial approach to healthcare (this is an approach informed by body, mind and environment). Our team includes osteopaths, chartered physiotherapists and massage therapists as well as visiting health professionals such as a sports doctor, podiatrist and cognitive behavioural therapist.
We regularly work in collaboration, sharing knowledge and experience so we can outline the various treatment options available to our patients and make referrals to the most appropriate healthcare professional. We are working towards a shared goal – delivering the highest standards of care to our patients.
My experience of collaborative working extends beyond the clinic. We are located in an NHS centre which has more than 20 GPs on site. Working in close proximity with other health professionals has helped me establish working relationships with many GPs as well as with surgeons and pain specialists.
These relationships are extremely beneficial to my patients. For example, I recently referred a young patient with an unusual stress fracture in her spine to a GP and a spinal consultant. By working together, the patient was diagnosed with a bilateral fracture and subsequently received the right treatment that would not further aggravate the patient’s condition.
It is important when working with GPs and consultants that we use language they understand and that demonstrates our knowledge and expertise. This ensures our input is valued. This approach has been key to building relationships with other healthcare professionals and creating a network that often leads to patient referrals.
Promoting our expertise
Working with other healthcare professionals provides an important opportunity to raise the profile of osteopathy and build confidence in our skills and expertise.
I was contacted by a urological surgeon who had a patient with back pain which was not kidney related. The patient had not responded to medication or other forms of physical therapy, so he was referred to me. I was able to resolve the patient’s back pain, and consequently the surgeon became a patient himself!
I also give talks about osteopathy to GPs and teaching hospitals. This not only supports the continuing professional development of newly qualified osteopaths and trainee doctors but also helps to improve understanding of osteopathy and its benefits to patients. I always incorporate case studies and evidence-based stories into my presentations. It’s important we communicate our professional training and highlight that we are a properly regulated profession.
Newly qualified osteopaths and trainee doctors are generally quite interested in other approaches to healthcare and happy to find out more about other professions in order to develop their knowledge and expertise.
Often, I need to be flexible and fit the talks around their schedule or even arrange discussions during lunch breaks but having the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other healthcare professionals is so valuable. It helps to change perceptions and ensures osteopaths become part of the conversations around effective patient care.
Clive Lathey is an osteopath and injury specialist, as well as the Founder and Director of The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy. Clive obtained a Master’s Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Surrey and has specific expertise in sports injuries, back, neck and shoulder pain. Clive has extensive experience providing osteopathy care to elite athletes and sports people and was a member of the multidisciplinary medical team of the London Paralympics and a member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Medical Team during the Rio Summer Olympics. Clive also worked for Liverpool Football Club and works with professional and recreational triathletes.