Wolverhampton hospital doctor will 'blaze a trail for others' in NHS first

A healthcare professional from Wolverhampton who makes and fits braces and splints for patients, has been appointed the first Consultant Orthotist in the NHS.

Nicky Eddison
Nicky Eddison

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust's Dr Nicky Eddison PhD has been confirmed by British Association Of Prosthetists & Orthotists (BAPO) as the first in the post in public healthcare in the UK. She is also the only practising orthotist with a PhD in the country.

Originally from Manchester, Dr Eddison, 45, has been with the trust for 14 years after arriving as a Band 5 Junior Orthotist in 2007 following her graduation from Salford University.

Soon after she started at the trust, Dr Eddison was the only clinical member of staff in the department, but now leads a team of seven operating across New Cross Hospital and West Park Hospital in Wolverhampton, Cannock Chase Hospital and Bridgnorth Hospital, handling 40 referrals per day and up to 16,000 patients per year.

“I’m delighted to be recognised as the first Consultant Orthotist in the NHS,” said Dr Eddison.

“I have to thank the trust for recognising the position and its importance and also for their investment in orthotics which allows us to treat such a variety of patients across many disciplines.

"When I started here, my line manager was the only other clinical member of staff in the team at the time before he left, so I could never have imagined how we would be able to expand the service.”

Much of Dr Eddison’s more high profile work has been in helping younger patients with cerebral palsy, but the service makes and adapts support for all body parts linking in with many departments across the trust, including stroke, rheumatology, oncology, paediatrics, maternity, diabetes, orthopaedics, epilepsy and special schools.

Dr Rosalind Leslie PhD, Group Manager, Therapies and Ambulatory Care, Chief Allied Health Professional (AHP) at the trust, said: “I am thrilled Nicky is the first orthotist in the country to be promoted as a consultant within the NHS!

"This forward thinking will benefit both our patients and staff and will blaze a trail for others. Our allied health professional consultants are highly effective leaders who have increased their knowledge and skills, enabling them to go beyond the boundaries of the profession, providing strategic vision.”

Lynne Rowley, Chair of BAPO, welcomed the appointment, adding: "As the first Consultant Orthotist appointed in the NHS, I would like to commend the forward thinking team at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for recognising the need for this role.”

A Senior Research Fellow at Staffordshire University, where she gained her PhD in Biomechanics / Biomechanical optimisation of AFO-FCs, Dr Eddison has authored or co-wrote 20 publications and has been Chair of the Professional Affairs Committee of BAPO and a member of its Executive Committee since last November.

Professor Nachi Chockalingam, Director of the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies at Staffordshire University, said: “Nicky is a fantastic role model for orthotists, not only in this country, but across the world. Her research work with us is going from strength to strength and has started to have an impact on changing clinical practice.”

He added: “Nicky completed her PhD at Staffordshire and currently works as a Senior Research Fellow within the centre. She has led and contributed to many research projects. We are extremely pleased the trust has given her this consultant role – the first in the country – which will pave the way for strengthening the collaboration between the trust and the university.”

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