Rehabilitation services in Lanarkshire have been boosted with the appointment of a specialist consultant.
Claire Ritchie became Scotland’s only consultant allied health professional in rehabilitation when she took up the new post with NHS Lanarkshire.
Her role – a two-year post in partnership with North and South Lanarkshire Councils – will include changing attitudes to rehabilitation services to help improve patient care in the local area.
Claire said: “I’ll be aiming to change people’s thoughts about rehabilitation, enhance community-based services and promote the services available.
“Rehabilitation isn’t just something that starts further down the line after you’ve had surgery and ends when you go home.
“Planning a person’s recovery, and putting these plans into action, should begin before a person comes in for surgery or treatment - which can even prevent their admission - and continues in the community.
“It’s vital we promote independence rather than dependence, and enable people to take control in their life roles.”
Claire’s two-year post is in partnership with the two local authorities, North and South Lanarkshire councils.
Her key goal will be to integrate the objectives of NHSScotland’s national framework for rehabilitation, Co-ordinated, integrated and fit for purpose –delivery framework for adult rehabilitation, within Lanarkshire.
Claire qualified as an occupational therapist from Glasgow University and worked in various clinical roles within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde before being a lead of service for occupational therapists.
She also took up the post of a clinical services manager for stroke services.
Claire’s final post at NHSGGC, before moving to Lanarkshire, was as allied health professional (AHP) consultant for stroke.
She said: “Rehabilitation is a team approach that includes medical, nursing, allied health professionals and social work staff and it’s important these professions work closely together.
“It’s about helping and supporting people who have experienced a challenge to their physical or mental well-being which has affected their quality of life.
“People can be helped, through rehabilitation, to get back to coping with every day life and to reach their full potential.”
Claire added: “I’ll be working with a Lanarkshire team to improve the care provided to patients with long-term conditions and trying to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospitals.
“We’ll also be aiming to improve rehabilitation services in the community to enable people to live independently at home, and to establish a single point of access for these services.”