Interview with the Clinical Services Manager-Physiotherapy

Kelly Rothwell

Kelly Rothwell

Clinical Services Manager-Physiotherapy
BMI Blackheath Hospital

I take the greatest pride in knowing that the team brought together over the years is a union of great people.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, background and current role?

I trained at the Royal London Hospital / University of East London and qualified 24 years ago.
Back in those days only two physiotherapy schools offered B(Sc) Hons degrees in Physiotherapy, either the London or Manchester, and so I plumped for the capital and had the most fun you can fit into four years. I am biased about my degree but firmly believe my training was second to none. .

I have worked in a wide variety of physiotherapy roles throughout my career from occupational health in the retail industry, the NHS, education and the private sector. I strongly believe in ongoing professional development and have heavily invested in my own career over the years - gaining post-graduate specialist qualifications in sports, then women’s health and vestibular rehabilitation. I have worked for BMI collectively for approximately eight years.

Describe a typical day/week at BMI Blackheath Hospital for you?

As the manager of the physiotherapy department I am responsible for the development, maintenance and auditing of the physiotherapy services offered at Blackheath.

On a daily basis I do the usual housekeeping tasks of managing timekeeping, staff rotas, health and safety, monitoring the activity levels of the department, attending meetings, dealing with stock issues and responding to any incidents/accidents/complaints or compliments.

I take the latter two very seriously as I take great pride in ensuring we offer the best possible service to our patients - both as inpatients and outpatients.

Larger projects such as contracts management, the sourcing and purchasing of new equipment/technology, reviewing of all of our statistics, the monitoring of the professional standards of the team and the appraising and developing of the team occurs over weekly and monthly bases.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We are an innovative team and I am proud to say that we extremely work well with the hospital team developing new services to the betterment of our patient care. At this moment in time, we are in close collaboration with the oncology team. For example, I recently attended an external course to learn acupuncture for oncology and palliative care patients, and brought these skills back to the team.

I am happy to say that we now have four therapists who are able to assist the oncology unit - aiding cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms such as of nausea, anxiety, weakness and pain. Another exciting development is the imminent expansion of our continence and men's health services;

Watch this space!

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the close working relationships with other departments within the hospital. I think our most recent CQC result reflects how well we work as a team. I also enjoy the collaboration with other Physiotherapy departments within BMI. There is an excellent network between us that is supportive, very forward thinking and aids to drive purposeful change.

How does your role benefit the patients at The Blackheath Hospital?

I set a high bar and like to think patients are given the best care possible. I do my best to ensure that the standard we offer is the kind of standard I would expect my family to receive should they ever require such services. Occasionally, unfortunately, my role has to be reactive responding to a negative patient experience (which I am pleased to say is extremely rare as our team are both very skilful and caring).
When these do happen I take these extremely seriously and aim to resolve this immediately.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and as such the weak spots need to be addressed quickly. However, I can definitely confirm that my role is very proactive. Opportunities to improve the patients journey in a hospital are abundant and we are always looking to integrate into the patient’s pathway to ease their journey and make their recovery as fast and effective as possible.

We have recently created a role to help the patients prepare for their operation at pre-assessment, we ensure a 'seven day' service to all of our inpatients, and have extended our opening times in outpatient from 7.30am to 8pm plus offering weekend appointments. We have a team of approximately twenty physiotherapists and we are able to cover many areas of expertise within the team from sports, respiratory, spinal, women’s' health, acupuncture, vestibular and so on.

What has been your biggest achievement at The Blackheath Hospital?

I take the greatest pride in knowing that the team brought together over the years is a union of great people with a great variety of skills all blending to provide a seamless, high calibre service.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

My nephew Patrick is a mini-me and we share the same sense of humour - he is a bright little spark that always makes me laugh. I also like to wind down after a hard weeks' work by spending quality time with my family as my daily commute can be up to three hours, limiting my free time during the week. I enjoy reading a good thriller, going to the theatre and surrounding myself with rescued 4 legged friends. I like to watch football (I come from a family full of Fulham fans) and especially love to travel. I am looking forward to a trip to Ireland soon to watch the last 6 nations match. I'm pretty sure I've bet on the winner.

Thanks for your time, Kelly.


BMI Blackheath Hospital offers a wide range of services including Physiotherapy, cardiology and diagnostic imaging. You can see find their full list of hospital services here.