Second Opinion

When Deals Go Sour

Last updated: September 2, 2011

When Deals Go Sour

Our CityDeals promotion expires on September 19th.  One feature of this type of deal is that we get paid only when our clients redeem the voucher – so we would love if we could contact all who still hold vouchers so they can get what they paid for.  Otherwise the opportunity will be lost – and both patient and Clinic become loser.

 Actually, we are trying to work out a way of looking after those who hold unredeemed vouchers who might have been away on holidays or just missed the deadline – just so that nobody gets disappointed.

 The whole promotion worked really well for us introducing us to a lot of new people who might never otherwise have called to see us or heard of our Clinic.

 And the day the deal was launched was the busiest day ever for traffic on our website – far exceeding the day when Susan Boyle (of X-Factor) checked into the ‘notorious’ Priory Clinic. 

 Most people coming to see us were looking for a Massage – or a Deep Tissue Massage for relaxation.  That’s the way the copy writers at CityDeals worded the offer.  If we had been allowed put our own case we would have emphasised how a proper assessment and treatment can help underlying problems.  Really, it doesn’t matter how much the mechanic polishes the bonnet, if the hood needs to be lifted and an in-depth assessment done, the engine won’t purr as it should until that happens. 

 While we are always happy to provide a good Massage where needed, sometimes we found that there might be an underlying problem that prompted that individual to visit in the first place.  Priory Clinic practitioners are primary care therapists qualified to assess and treat a broad range of conditions.  So we like nothing better than getting our teeth into a stubborn problem.  It doesn’t work for anyone when a niggly problem gets a glossing-over. No matter how well you gloss!

 Okay – we admit we might have met a few ‘deal-junkies’ on a carousel following the cheapest gigs in town.  But we also met a lot who were interested in getting the underlying cause identified and sorted out which is what we are best at.  We think these are the happiest; clients who don’t need to re-book.  The ones who do come back are always happy and those who need to come back for more and don’t – are the ones who benefit least. 

 They could well end up worse than they started and even lose their faith in the hands-on and holistic approach to recurring muscle/tendon/ligament problems.  Having a few treatments with the same therapist helps you build a rapport, allows them to figure out the techniques that work best for you and lets you give them the feedback they need to make your treatment-euros work as effectively as possible. 

 And of course – your happiness is our happiness.  So if you have been to see us, felt we made progress and would like to make more – do please call and see us again, real soon!

By John O’SullivanComments: 1 Leave a comment  

Physical Therapy - A Good Fit or Bad?

Last updated: August 12, 2011

We established Physical Therapy - College and Clinic -  about twenty years ago so that it would be different to Physiotherapy.  One of our challenges today is to hold firm to the founding philosophy while we earn recognition for what we do.  We think it would be a relatively simple matter to run a copy of a Physiotherapy course and have that recognised (as Physiotherapy).  But we don’t want that and we sincerely hope that neither our students nor patients want it either!  We think our alumni especially would feel let down if Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy were suddenly to become one.

 Whether they like it or not, our profession has been imposed on Physiotherapy and they have watched it grow from modest beginnings.  Today, the award Physical Therapists get when they qualify is recognised at European level in exactly the same way as that given to Physiotherapists.

 Aside from the academic, we believe our graduates are at least as well prepared as any other to meet the demands of private practice and that our focus on preparing students to be self-employed will be especially helpful in recessionary times.  HSE cutbacks are likely to help private practitioners when they hinder others.  Within Physical Therapy, preparation for private practise doesn’t hang on serving an apprenticeship within a public hospital and they don’t have to wait for recruitment bans to be lifted to get a career in private practise going.  In a recession, it is likely there will be less hospital-based treatment available and that more people will seek treatment within their community which is exactly the work for which our graduates are trained.  The EU/IMF are encouraging competition in ‘previously sheltered areas’ and we already know we will dance to the bailout tune for a long time to come.  True, there are a lot more people chasing this market but only a small proportion have a degree or the ability to diagnose as a primary carer.  Many have no training in a clinic or in back-care which can account for about 80% of what an average PT sees. 

Recently arrived degree courses from DCU or Carlow are still trying to establish their own path and identity and some graduates have taken to calling themselves Physical Therapists in an effort to describe what they do.  Last year we met some of our own very first graduates who have now retired from successful careers.  Their efforts and those of hundreds since, have established Physical Therapy as a career many – especially physiotherapists – now want to assume or want to be associated with.

 And what about regulation of the health professions?  This process is only beginning in Ireland.  Many feel we have valuable lessons from an international failure of regulation within banking.  But how those lessons, if any, are applied remains to be seen.  Associations who once pursued regulation to protect the public have to adopt a now adversarial role as a protector of their members against the sanctions that a Regulator can apply.  Regulated professions face new challenges; criteria for entry, for professional development, for practice, for compliance as well as having to carry the associated costs of being seen to implement the new values.  Change imposed by the Regulator is seldom unanimously welcomed, often controversial, invariably pro-patient as opposed to pro-therapist, and the newly regulated profession has to focus inwardly for an extended period while those extraneous are free to decide their own future unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape. 

Internationally regulation is vested with decreasing credibility as a result of the banking crisis and ongoing controversies within healthcare in Ireland especially, have further reduced the public’s confidence.  It is understandable that some are trepidatious about leaping into bed with a sector that brought us Organ Retention, Hepatitis from blood transfusion, Thalidomide, Caesarean Hysterectomies, Lea’s Cross Nursing Home, trolleys in A & E corridors and Harold Shipman.  And that’s just the beginning!  As someone recently said, every family has their own horror story.  Prescription drugs are now the fifth biggest killer so maintaining clear water between that and our own drug-free approach offers a healthy alternative to the public.  As it stands, Physical Therapy is a standalone profession in Ireland.  The future of Physical Therapy will be decided by Physical T.  They may decide to seek regulation or not, but there’s no precedent of having regulation imposed on a profession.  Good reason too: it wouldn’t work, and as a race the Irish especially dislike outside interference.  Rules and regulations only work when we agree to abide by them.  There’s no precedent either for one established profession appropriating the title of another established profession.  So when we hear talk of that, we are hearing only rumour and speculation and there’s little new in any of it.

 So what happens when you take a Physical Therapy qualification abroad?

Well, as an educator, what we don’t want is for graduates to pretend they are Physiotherapists or present themselves in a way that leads the public to think that they are qualified in a way that they are not.  We offer places on our course only to those we believe subscribe to the patient-centred, hands-on, holistic approach which are the bedrock values of the course we established.  It might be that these core values are represented in other cultures by professions with names other than Physical Therapy.  The paradox of things new is that they fit poorly within existing structures.  The creative principles of their origin means no badge exists to accurately describe them.  Innovators plough a lonely furrow but the first Physical Therapists have been joined by many and now thousands of consumers find it works for them where other approaches have failed. 

For travelling Physical Therapists, their academic qualification and academic recognition remain intact.  The approach may be new in another country, but it is based on established scientific principles and evidence-based practice.  And if it doesn’t perfectly match anything that already exists – we think that will be the strength of it as opposed to its weakness.  So the self-esteem of a PT shouldn’t hang on a half-truth posted to an internet chat room.  And people who are perfectly entitled to be passionate about their contrasting approach shouldn’t undermine our commitment or belief in ours.  You see, to those that are truly committed to Physical Therapy, ‘fitting in’ becomes secondary.  And as we become more successful we threaten established professions in new ways.  It is reasonable and predictable that those competing react to this.  An ultimate outcome is that competitors, once fiercely opposed, grow to resemble each other and as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, it becomes impossible to tell one group from the other.  Lots of differences exist with physiotherapy; one part of mainstream healthcare, with employment opportunities within the public sector, focused on treating conditions seen within the hospital system and utilizing electrical modalities.  And no-one is saying it is an inferior approach.  But we know our patients like having an alternative available, like the patient-centeredness of what we do, value the time and attention of the hands-on approach and find benefit from undergoing a more relaxed and holistic assessment. 

Vive la differénce. 

By John O’SullivanComments: 3 Leave a comment  

12. A Nice Break.

Last updated: August 2, 2011

12. A Nice Break.

Friday 22ndJuly – Friday 29thJuly:  It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling tired and down the last while....had some blood tests done during the week and the results show that I have low ferritin levels and my body is in a chronically tired state.  I’m delighted I know what has been going on for the last while & why I was feeling so terrible.  The running season basically finishes on August 7th so after next week I am going to stop training for this year...take a nice break.... recover properly & start back training in September with a BANG.  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result = insanity!!!

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11.  Going Great

Last updated: July 26, 2011

Friday 8th to Friday 15th July:  Things just keep getting better and better.  I have done two sessions on the track now and everything is going great.  I am running strong and while my speed is obviously not at it’s best, my endurance has improved to no end over the last four weeks.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way! My left shin has been acting up a little bit but I know myself this is purely related to getting back on track again and increasing the training intensity a little.  I’m running in the relay this Sunday and very much looking forward to a good day out on the track.  I’ll fill you in on how everything goes next week. 

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10.  On Track

Last updated: July 26, 2011

Friday 1st July to Friday 8th July:  This week I was able to challenge myself a little more by beginning some fartlek sessions on the grass and thankfully my foot is holding up just fine.  I am still alternating my running days with gym days and rest days to allow my foot optimum recovery time.  To be honest I’m surprising myself with my fitness levels...all those bike sessions during my 6-week immobilisation period have definitely helped me to stay physically strong.  I can’t wait for next week where I will hopefully be able to begin some light sessions on the track...all going well I’ll be able to run a leg of the 100m relay in the league next weekend.

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