Reflections on the my period as Chair 2019 – 2022
When I took over the role of Chair of BBTA in November 2019 who could have predicted what the next few years had in store for the world or for BBTA!
Early in February 2020 I began teaching module 1 of the Basic Bobath course at RABIU, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast with my co tutor Debbie Strang. Our biggest concern had been a problem with the heating and there had been occasional conversations about Covid, little did we know that we would not finish our course until 2023!
What followed was the challenge of uncertainty as Covid-19 became an increasingly present issue culminating in lockdowns, redeployment and changes to our healthcare environment none of us could have imagined. My new focus was making decisions about when to postpone and reschedule all the planned courses as restrictions continued with so many staff redeployed and the enormous challenges faced by the NHS. We had no idea back then how long it would be before we would be able to teach courses back in NHS settings and we were on reflection perhaps slower than others to adapt. We were however optimistic in interviewing candidates for BBTA’s 7th Tutor Training Programme in June 2020 and I am delighted that all our trainees have managed to complete their first training module, have assisted on BBTA Introductory Modules and two have recently completed their first assistantship on a Basic Bobath course.
BBTA ran a first virtual course on Neurophysiology and its Clinical Application in 2021. During Covid the move to on-line delivery of courses in many areas of education was obvious but to teach practical skills – this was and remains an ongoing dilemma for BBTA and the wider organisation IBITA. Bobath courses will always remain in person courses because they are practical in nature with an emphasis on the assessment and treatment of patients. Clinical reasoning, theory, movement analysis and practical treatment skills are embedded into course curriculum. It is however important to recognise how the world has changed over the last 3 years and as an organisation BBTA is responding by developing a range of options for alternate delivery of courses. We are looking for new and different ways to deliver courses in these altered circumstances e.g. the loss of treatment spaces in a number of hospitals. We have taught courses over weekends to reduce the disruption to clinical settings and have developed a hybrid format for the Basic Bobath course incorporating virtual delivery of theory and some patient demonstration with in-person practical and patient treatment sessions. The demand for courses remains very high, the large number of therapists contacting the BBTA office throughout the last three years wishing to complete Introductory Modules, Basic and Advanced courses, has been both overwhelming and encouraging. So as I step down I can reflect back on how we have and will continue to adapt to this altered and evolving healthcare environment. I know Sarah Guy will continue to lead BBTA in further developments to ensure we can meet the demand for all our courses.