Imperial College Healthcare Trust seeks feedback on physiotherapy proposal

Patients, carers, local residents and other stakeholders are being asked for their views on the proposal to close the hydrotherapy pool at Charing Cross Hospital and replace the service it provides with land-based therapies.

The proposal has been developed following a safety and effectiveness review prompted by the increased challenge of maintaining and running the pool, combined with evidence that land-based therapies produce very similar benefits to aquatic therapies.

By closing the pool, therapy staff will have more time to see a potential 370 extra new patients per year with an additional 2,500 appointment slots created across the service, helping to reduce waiting times. Use of the hydrotherapy pool space will also allow expansion for other clinical services.

Evidence of the clinical effectiveness of hydrotherapy is inconclusive and similar outcomes for patients can be found when compared to land-based therapy treatments.

The land-based therapies which would be used to provide alternative, safe and effective care for hydrotherapy patients include:

• postural and ergonomic advice and back care education
• gait re-education to improve mobility
• manual therapy to mobilise the joints and soft tissue
• joint management
• strength training regimes
• teaching specific exercises to improve strength or flexibility
• functional task practice
• respiratory and cardiovascular exercise regimes
• self-management strategies and healthy lifestyle choices

The key benefits to be gained from the proposal are to:

• increase physiotherapy outpatient capacity and reduce waiting times
• prevent poor service to both NHS and private users of the pool through repeated, unplanned and indefinite closures
• re-allocate the existing space occupied by the pool for alternative clinical space
• re-allocate estates resource from pool repairs to other important areas of hospital maintenance
• avoid recurring financial operating loss

The Trust is working with local Clinical Commissioning Groups, the local council, patient and service user groups and other stakeholders to get a full range of feedback.

Subject to the feedback the Trust receives on its proposal, the timeframe would be for a decision to be made in April 2019.

Please submit any comments and questions to the Trust via email to: IMPERIAL.THERAPIESHYDROTHERAPY@NHS.NET

You can read the full proposal summary here.