“Who would have believed that 2020 would be the year it has become! As you read this, we are back in Lockdown. The only good news on this is that we are staying open and will continue to do face to face appointments wearing PPE.
The year started well in January and promised to be a good one from a personal and business point of view. I got married, ruptured my cruciate ligament (in different months), had a very busy business start to the year and then went into lockdown!
Like all physio clinics across the UK, our governing body, the CSP, advised us that we all had to close in this time, for the safety of us and our customers. When we packed up our clinics and locked the doors on 18th March, we never believed that we would not set foot in them again until early June.
Thanks to the Job retention scheme, we put 90% of the employed staff on Furlough and the rest of us both employed and self-employed, continued to see our patients online. We also had support from Janet and Hannah who run the business behind the scenes! We quickly had a website and infrastructure that could allow us to do this thanks to our online diary system, TM3 and our wonderful web designer who has supported us throughout. Our revenues dropped overnight to less than 10% of normal so we had a very steep mountain to climb!
Luckily our landlords have been kind, our online “video Physio” got busier and we have managed to stay in business. We are now back to about 60-70% of normal. We have lost some wonderful staff who have gone back to the NHS, but we hope that as we grow again, they can be encouraged to come back! The rest of the amazing CHP team are back to near 80% of normal and we are very much back in business!! We might look a little different in our mask, gowns and gloves but we are the same otherwise, if not a little more imaginative and smarter!
One other helpful thing was to be able to talk to other physio clinics in the same predicament and thanks to the MSK network set up by some of the larger physio providers in London, we were able to do this and I know that for me, this was helpful and reassuring that we are all in this together and trying to help each other get back to some sort of normal and survive!
What have I learnt from this very challenging time?
- What a loyal and talented team of people I work with who can work well in a crisis.
- Video Physio is a great tool to have alongside online exercise programs. Our patients that live in and out of London continue to use this as part of our service and we will continue to use it going forwards.
- Your competitors can also be your friend.
- Physiotherapy is and will always be an essential part of life both in the community and hospital settings.
- Kindness will always be remembered.
- If you are over 50 and rupture your cruciate ligament with no surgeons to operate, it can get pretty stable with exercises and physio!
I look forward to the next 6 months with some trepidation and excitement as where there is a crisis there is also opportunity to do things new and better. Welcome back to our clinics and see you soon. Lockdown or not, we are here for you face to face and virtually!”
Natasha Price, Managing Director
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, our plans to develop an online physiotherapy service were accelerated and we now offer a whole range of UK-wide online services from the comfort of your own home or workplace. From online physiotherapy, online work-station assessments, to online Pilates and physio-fitness solutions.
We have further developed our home-visit service which in these times is more important than ever for those who are vulnerable and unable to access our clinics.
In August we launched our Coronavirus Recovery and Rehabilitation Service in collaboration with the wider multi-disciplinary team at The Wellington Hospital. This is great for ‘long-Covid’ sufferers trying to get their lives back on track both physically and psychologically.
Our website homepage has had a revamp to highlight both our online and face-to-face services, complete with video of our MD Natasha explaining how online physiotherapy works.
We created a whole new online booking system, payment system and help-guide to make things more user-friendly. We have made regular updates across the whole website regarding coronavirus and how our face-to-face services are running slightly differently to normal in these times in line with government guidelines, and the guidelines set out for us by our regulatory body (The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy/CSP).
We have also updated our YouTube channel where you can find VLOGs recorded in lockdown on taking up running, introduction to Pilates, common running injuries, post-natal exercise & foam-rolling techniques.
Chelsea Clinic News
We have been unable to re-open our physiotherapy and hydrotherapy clinic at The Royal Hospital due to it being a high-risk location in the current climate. Our ultimate goal is to return to Chelsea, but in the meantime, you can find our physiotherapy team just down the road in Pimlico. So far, the team have settled in well to their new surroundings and are getting busier all the time.
St John’s Wood Clinic News
It’s been full steam ahead for the team at The Wellington Platinum Medical Centre. It’s great to see so many of our loyal patients return post-lockdown and embrace physiotherapy within the realms of PPE and social distancing.
We are planning to re-open our hydrotherapy services from late November in the Wellington North Building – watch this space!
Chancery Lane Clinic News
Chancery Lane has been slower to pick-up due to its location, but we are gradually getting busier for physiotherapy despite The City remaining very quiet. Our massage therapist Emily recently started back but has had to pause her diary until early December due to Lockdown 2.0. We have also welcomed back The Gait Lab and SmartTMS who use some of our clinic space.
Shefali Desai became a mum for the first time earlier in the year, welcoming baby Serena! Shefali is currently on maternity leave enjoying motherhood.
Goodbye & Thank you
Sadly, these unprecedented times led to us losing many of our valued team. Thank you to Katharine Fennelly, Suzy Murphy, Emma Brown & Jasper Kern who have all returned to the NHS, Shani Heikell who has moved back to New Zealand, and Megan Sumner who is taking a break from physiotherapy.