NHS patients getting elite athlete treatment 

09/10/2014 00:00 
A post-Olympics collaboration between leading health, academic and sports organisations is giving NHS patients levels of care and expertise previously only available to elite athletes.
Dr Aria Ghassemi with patient Andrew Simms 

Practitioners at the Institute of Sports, Exercise and Health (ISEH) are seeing increasing numbers of NHS patients who are tapping in to the wealth of expertise available.

The ISEH is collaboration between UCLH, UCL, British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport and private hospital group HCA. It is an integral part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, a major legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games, and opened in June 2013.

A new film (below) shows some of what the ISEH has to offer to both NHS patients and elite athletes under one roof. The film takes a tour of the facilities on Tottenham Court Road and meets some of its patients including a rugby player, a club runner and a woman who had an accident during a walk in the park and needed physiotherapy to regain use of her arm.

As well as treating top-level athletes from across the sporting world, the ISEH’s experts are also able to help with injuries suffered by those for whom exercise is a hobby. Andrew Simms from Balham took advantage of the ISEH’s facilities after developing an Achilles tendon problem as a result of his passion for running.

Andrew, 49, had an active upbringing but only took up running again a few years ago, and now runs with Herne Hill Harriers. “I get so much pleasure from running and competing,” said Andrew. “When I first went down there it was like opening a door on the world of my 16-year-old self.”

However, in Andrew’s first year of competing he improved so rapidly that he bought new ‘spikes’ (running footwear), putting his feet and legs under a different pressure while increasing the volume and intensity of running. Andrew’s Achilles flared up and, after a few physiotherapy sessions didn’t solve the problem, he decided to seek further expert medical help.

“My GP had never heard of the ISEH,” said Andrew. “I was aware of it as I’m interested in sport and my wife works in the NHS, and anything science-related I’m straight on to. My GP was enthusiastic about sport, and happy to help me with my choice.”

After an ultra-sound prior to his appointment at the ISEH, Andrew met with orthopaedic consultant Aria Ghassemi at the ISEH. There he had an examination and was sent for both X-rays and MRI at the centre before discussion on next steps.

 “We’re not here just for elite athletes - we’re here for people who want to take part in all sports, from any age group, who are keen to be active,” said Aria Ghassemi. “That’s a huge number of people who can use our services. Of course we also work with high level sportsmen, but we bring that expertise and experience to bear on the weekend warriors – this is a service for everyone.”

You can watch the ISEH film below.

 Latest news

 Contact details

Communications unit
2nd floor central
250 Euston Road
London NW1 2PG

Media enquiries

Switchboard: 020 3456 7890
Media enquiries: 020 3447 7542 / 020 3447 9506
Email: uclh.media@nhs.net

Out of hours
The normal working hours for the Communications Unit are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. The only media enquiries that will be answered outside of these working hours are urgent enquiries and those relating to major incidents. To access the out-of-hours service call switchboard on 0845 155 5000.

Share this story