Kensington and Chelsea Today


‘On your bike’ takes on a whole new meaning when you meet Natasha Price

Natasha Price’s daily bicycle ride between her Central Health Clinic in Covent Garden and her home in Battersea takes her past the Infirmary building situated in the grounds of The Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea.

Natasha was drawn to the Infirmary building because she thought “it was rather special” both architecturally and in its location. On contacting the Royal Hospital she was informed that the Infirmary had recently been refurbished, with a new Hydrotherapy Pool, treatment rooms, new equipment and a gymnasium. The new facilities are very much used and enjoyed by the pensioners and their medical team but the hydro pool was not being used as they did not have the expertise to do this.

As owner and manager of Central Health Physiotherapy, one of the largest and most respected physiotherapy companies in London, and with several successful practices to her name, Natasha quickly realised that her instincts had not let her down.

The result was an agreement that the Infirmary would provide the building and facilities whilst Natasha and her team would manage it. The joint venture would pool the profits which would go back into supporting the Infirmary.

The new clinic at the Royal Hospital Infirmary now provides both traditional musculoskeletal physiotherapy, outpatient rehabilitation as well as a new hydrotherapy service. The newly opened Hydrotherapy pool is the largest one in the area. Chelsea and Westminster’s Hospital had to shut their pool down recently due to lack of funding so the arrival of a new pool is much needed in the Borough.

“Hydrotherapy is such a beneficial treatment for patients” says Natasha. “Water is the perfect medium to get people moving in a pain free environment because of the weightlessness and buoyancy of the water (The water is also a pleasant and warm 35 degrees centigrade). Post surgery patients with hip or knee replacements benefit from using the pool as they are able to start to move their limbs again without the intensity of pain they would experience in an ‘out of water’ situation. The pool also helps with trauma, chronic back pain, stroke rehabilitation as well as joint replacements. Exercise and support are all provided within the controlled environment and at the individual patient’s needs.

The warmth of water relaxes muscles and allows for freer movement enabling them to strengthen slowly and at the right pace. Movement is proven to be a vital role in recovery and improving mobility when combined with other treatments and practices. Providing a pain free environment for this process is a critical part of a patient’s recovery programme. “We have a close relationship with medical professionals which gives easy access to specialists when necessary.”

Typical patients who can benefit from the new Central Health’s Physiotherapy services are older people struggling with walking. Getting up out of a chair is a classic problem for many people and hydrotherapy can strengthen muscles to make this easier. Many younger people also work with hydrotherapy including sufferers with rheumatoid arthritis and other disabling ailments. The pool offers both stair and automated hoist access.

Patients can work one to one with physiotherapists and Central Health Physiotherapy is offering classes of up to four people at one time, twice weekly. “Sometimes at 8am in the morning, when we arrive, we see as many as fifteen pensioners using the gym’s facilities. It is a really rewarding feeling,” says Natasha.A Chartered Physiotherapist, Natasha trained at the NHS for ten years but eventually decided to leave as she felt she wanted to delivery physiotherapy services more efficiently which private practice enables her to do. “It is not that I am critical of the NHS service or facilities,” explains Natasha, “they are very good indeed, it is just that private practice enables me to offer a more bespoke treatment service, at a time-scale and with facilities that individual treatments need.” Ultimately she would like to offer the facilities to the NHS in the future.

The building is set in the wonderful grounds of the Royal Hospital which makes a pleasing change to many other treatment settings.

Margaret Thatcher is the founder of the Infirmary and provided the funds for its facilities. Her husband, Denis Thatcher, chose the entrance to the Infirmary as his burial ground. Maybe Margaret will, one day, choose to join him.

If you are interested in viewing the premises or visiting the pool do contact them on: 020 7404 6343. KH.