A physiotherapist has described her experience of being in charge of the NHS Twitter account for a week, which saw a wide array of NHS professionals connecting with her.
Amanda Hensman-Crook told Frontline her five-day stint, which ended on July 20th, was an eye-opening time.
The first contact musculoskeletal physio at Windermere Health Centre remarked: "The response was amazing. Engagement was brilliant from physios, obviously, and the wider healthcare community - GPs and consultants, included."
However, she added, they were not the only people keen to communicate with her, commenting: "A lot of my followers were members of the public who were interested in something new in the NHS, first contact physiotherapy."
Using the invite from NHS England to take over the account for a week, Ms Hensman-Cook tweeted as @NHS/Amanda’s story and used her profile to promote her profession and first contact physiotherapy, something that evidently elicited a significant response from the public.
She remarked: "I had tweeted about first contact physio in relation to a patient who had chronic fatigue syndrome, and posted up an image about invisible disability." This received 1,400 likes and 900 retweets, as well as sparking off what she called a "massive discussion" about the issue.
Ms Hensman-Cook also used animation and videos to spread information about falls, primary care and the 'Love Activity, Hate Exercise?' campaign.
Health informatics lead at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) Euan McComiskie said Twitter can be a great way of communicating the benefits of first contact physiotherapy, stating that this offers a opportunity for an "immediate" global conversation on the topic.
However, he added, physiotherapists should check their organisation's social media policy to make sure they are compliant with it when tweeting about the work that they do.
The CSP advocates first contact physiotherapy as the advanced practice skills these professionals have mean patients can see them without having to be referred by a GP first.
Written by Matthew Horton
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