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On 26 September, Chris Smith (Personal Injury) and Esther Gaudoin (Clinical Negligence) presented at a conference/training event titled, Getting Personal: Contemporary practice in personal injury/medical negligence.

The conference was organised by Val Sparkes of EmSEVEN Ltd, who provide occupational therapy and best interests assessments, and took place at Burnley Football Club. It is the first year the event has taken place; Val wanted to organise something for rehabilitation providers in East Lancashire, and was keen to have our support. The conference was in support of the Brain and Spinal Injury Centre (BASIC), which is based in Salford and assists people recovering from acquired brain injury and spinal injury.

There were presentations throughout the day and informal conversations and networking during lunch and coffee breaks. Chris Smith and Karen Stevens, the Lead Physiotherapist at STEPS Rehabilitation in Sheffield, gave a presentation about amputee rehabilitation. They discussed the therapeutic and legal angles involved in three real-life case studies.  Esther gave a presentation about best practice in medical record keeping.

Other presentation topics included sensory processing difficulties with brain injury, returning to work following catastrophic injury, and developments in prostheses. BASIC gave an overview about the virtual reality rehabilitation services they offer. There was a particularly interesting talk by Dr Tony Sparkes (Department of Social Work and Social Care at Bradford University) about applying approaches and research methods developed for mental health recovery to a claimant’s recovery from personal injury.

Exhibitors included France and Associates (an architectural practice who provide accommodation reports), Jacqueline Webb, Blatchford Clinic (an independent provider of prosthetic and orthotic services), and GM Coachwork (who provide mobility solutions for wheelchair users). There were several equipment providers who specialise in solutions for those with spinal cord and/or brain injuries. There was a Stewarts stand, and the Life Beyond Injury tablets were very popular.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to develop relationships with rehabilitation providers in a nearby region. Feedback from attendees was very positive. There were positive acknowledgments about the collaborative atmosphere, the opportunities for networking and the thought-provoking relevance to practice. The contribution of service users/clients was particularly noted.



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