Children’s physio Liz pops the fizz as she retires after 40 years NHS service

Today colleagues said goodbye to paediatric physiotherapist Liz Clayton who is retiring after over 40 years service in the NHS at the Newcastle Hospitals.

Liz qualified as a physiotherapist in 1981 and worked in hospitals across the North West and North East. She started her paediatric physiotherapy journey in 1983 at North Tees Hospital where she worked for 17 years across all paediatric areas.

In 1992 Liz was nominated to be the regional representative for the Association of Chartered Paediatric Physiotherapists (APCP) and became Chairman Elect in 1996 of the National Committee and took over Chair in 1998 for two years.

She was the first ever chair from the North of England and the first from an acute paediatric background (and the first under 40!). It was during this time that Liz help to set up and run the first ‘Introduction to Paediatrics’ course for physiotherapists which was incredibly successful and is still run annually across the country.

Liz’s first love was always acute paediatrics and in 1997 she was successful in getting the ‘job of her dreams’ when she was appointed as Superintendent Paediatric Physiotherapist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Responsible for bringing all the paediatric physiotherapy teams together across the RVI, Newcastle General Hospital and Freeman Hospital orthopaedics, Liz established the first paediatric band 6 rotations that ensured a fantastic training and development program for aspiring paediatric physiotherapists.

Liz has worked across most clinical areas but has specialised in Paediatric Rheumatology. In 2011, she stepped down as paediatric lead to work full time in paediatric rheumatology where she has worked since. During this team Liz has helped develop pGALS and pREMS screening tools, contributed to PMM (an online evidence-based resource), spoken at National and International conferences, written book chapters and carried out some published collaborative research.

Liz throughout her long and proud career has been an inspiration to a huge number of physiotherapists both at Newcastle Hospitals and across the country. She has developed, supported and nurtured all who have had the privilege to work with her, and has always shown great compassion for patients and their families, always putting them first and has ensuring that the care and treatment they receive – both from her and the team she works with – is outstanding.

Liz puts the fizz in physiotherapist.

Victoria Mitchinson, Specialist Physiotherapist, Children’s Home Ventilation Service

Associate Director for Allied Health Professionals and Therapy Services Ewan Dick said “Liz has given many years to the NHS and as a Paediatric Physiotherapist has contributed significantly to the development and profile of services in the region and nationally.

“She is highly regarded for her expertise and leadership in her clinical role and sowed the seeds and nurtured the services that now benefit thousands of children and young people in Newcastle and across the region. We are so grateful for huge contribution to Paediatric Physio and she will be missed by all her colleagues at Newcastle Hospitals Trust and far beyond.”

“Liz has had a truly magnificent career in Paediatric Physiotherapy,” continued Alan McDonald, Head of Physiotherapy. “She has become a renowned national specialist in her field of Paediatric Rheumatology, and her passion for her profession has always been infectious which has brought many new staff into paediatrics.

“Liz has always come to work with a smile on her face and her positivity has such a wonderful impact on the lives of the children that a she has treated. She has had a particular interest in hydrotherapy and has lead the paediatric hydrotherapy service.  We feel so lucky that Liz chose to work her career with us.”

Colleague Victoria Mitchinson, Operational Lead for Paediatric Physiotherapy and Specialist Physiotherapist Children’s Home Ventilation Service added “Liz is one of the kindest, caring and most skilled physiotherapists I have ever worked with. She laid the foundations for the amazing team that is paediatric physiotherapy and we will never ever forget her.”

“Liz puts the fizz in physiotherapist. I will always be forever grateful to you for offering me the job in 1998 allowing me to start enter the phenomenal world of paediatric physio. Thank you Liz – we will miss you so very very much.”

Congratulations Liz on all you have achieved, thank you for your service and best wishes for the future.

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