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"Research pushes the barriers of what a Physio can do!"

ahp campaign ben seymour

In the latest of our London and south east Allied Health Professionals campaign, Ben Seymour, a Highly Specialist Physiotherapist in Critical Care at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, talks about his early research career and being an advocate for research among his peers.


How did you first get involved in research? 

We have a specific critical care research team that consists of research nurses and a lead consultant. I had expressed interest in getting physios involved in research, especially as our Dietitian team had been leading on a different trial. Our consultant found a suitable trial for us to be involved in and was very keen for us as physios to be involved from the off! It is a multi-centre trial for patients that spent time intubated on intensive care, focussing on a remote physio intervention over a six-week period once at home. We set the ball rolling with some training, and that’s got us to where we are now – we have myself as the co-PI, and a colleague Francesca Bertolina who is our Research Champion for the trial.

What has been the highlight of your research career so far? 

My research career is still very much in its infancy! But being able to be involved with something new (for us as physios) and feel like we’re breaking down some barriers is really exciting.

What skills do you think are needed for a career in research? 

Organisation is key, as there are lots that go on behind the scenes that you wouldn’t think of! You’ve also got to be adaptable, as there are constant small changes, and you’ve also got to be able to react to your patient group to be able to identify suitable patients effectively.  

Why do you believe research is important? 

One of the main pillars of physiotherapy is working to an evidence-based practice. We always need to be pushing to find new and better ways of working, to improve the experience for our patients, and improve outcomes. I also think it’s important for physios and other AHPs to be part of leading research. It also creates new and exciting job roles and ways of working and continues to push the barriers of what a physio can do! 

What are your plans and ambitions for the future? 

My main aim currently is to be able to finish the piece of research I am currently involved in. To be able to have provided information and data that hopefully will go some way to helping patients in the future is a big motivation for me. I am also really keen to get as many other physios in research going forwards. Now I have had experience and have made some good contacts with my trusts research department, I hope to spread the word about who, and why, they should be looking at opportunities to get into research themselves. 

  • For more information about starting a career in research as an Allied Health Professional, go to the Shape The Future website.