A Career in Physiotherapy: Interview with Dr. Neil Langridge

Director of Clinical & Rehabilitation Services at AECC University College, Dr. Neil Langridge, worked in the NHS and Ministry of Defence for 27 years – across Musculoskeletal practice within primary, community and secondary care environments.

Most recently, he worked as a Consultant Physiotherapist within a large community NHS Trust for 10 years, leading the advanced practice, multi-professional service in musculoskeletal medicine.

Neil continues to be involved in issues of professional governance, leadership and education within Physiotherapy at a senior level. 

He is Education Lead and a Fellow of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). He is also President of the Advanced Practice Physiotherapy Network (APPN).

Neil reflects on nearly 30 years in the profession:

Finding Physiotherapy

“I actually got into Physiotherapy via Clearing, as I didn’t do well in my A-Levels, in fact I had to re-take them as I initially did very poorly. I took some time out to coach football in America and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came back.

“I wouldn’t say I really got going with learning until I went to University. I graduated from the West London Institute, which is now Brunel University, and came to Bournemouth Hospital as a Junior Physiotherapist in the mid-1990s.

“I went on to work for the Ministry of Defence as a Physiotherapist within a training regiment in Winchester, and subsequently started a Master’s Degree in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.

“When I finished that, I got a specialist job at Bournemouth Hospital working in the spinal and lower limb team for an Orthopedic Surgeon. I also went on to complete Master’s module in Injection Therapies, which meant I could work as an Injecting Therapist.”

Specialising in MSK

“As I progressed in my career, it became clear to me just how complicated Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy was. I always felt I wanted to know more. I did the Master’s degree because I wanted to get better at what I was doing; I wanted to test myself.

“The great thing about that degree was that you were constantly on placements and you were assessed on how you were treating patients. I found it really hard; really difficult. I felt I was being assessed every day. But it was fantastic for that exact reason.

“When I’d finished that, I wanted to gain a Consultant post. At that point, you didn’t need a doctorate to get a Consultant Physiotherapy job, but I made the decision that I wanted to complete a doctorate to justify my position. I coupled this with completing an NHS Leadership Academy pathway to ensure I balanced the clinical and leadership parts of the job.

“I went to work at Lymington Hospital after Bournemouth, where I initially took on a small Musculoskeletal team. I worked my way up to Consultant Physiotherapist there.

“I finally gained a Consultant Physiotherapist post which I held for ten years and was in charge of between 70 and 80 clinicians across Hampshire and all the Musculoskeletal services for Southern Health.

“That included all the Orthopedic and Physiotherapy services across 10 community hospital sites, as well as close clinical relationships with the podiatric and pain management services.

“At the same time, I was seconded for 6 years to Health Education England, leading the teams that delivered on the national competency and capability framework for First Contact Practice.

“This was a piece of work that for the first time in postgraduate AHP practice gave a standardised multi-professional framework for clinicians moving into primary care.

“AECC UC is one of a small number of education providers who are delivering the training for clinicians to attain this competency for First Contact Practitioners which is really exiting and great to be a part of.”

Integrated Rehabilitation Centre

“I’m currently responsible for launching and delivering the clinical strategy for the Integrated Rehabilitation Centre at AECC University College as well as overseeing all the services including imaging and the student chiropractic services. The aim is to provide multi-disciplinary care in an integrated, seamless way, and to improve patient and student experiences.”

“We’re following a self-empowerment model, focusing on enabling patients to reach their potential. That’s what any rehabilitation treatment that takes place within the services should be about, using multiple professionals to bring together a bespoke rehab programme that is meaningful and supportive.”

“Rehabilitation has a part to play in everybody’s health, wellbeing and recovery. Whatever disease process, pathology or injury you’ve had, you need to go through rehabilitation practice. You have to get well medically and then get back to living your life.

“The most interesting aspect of my job now is providing something for students that is different and also follows a community-focused rehabilitation model. What I’m also really interested in is those people that sit on the outsides of our healthcare system and can’t access care so easily.

“The challenge in improving health inequalities, improving public health and supporting illness prevention is one that the whole team are very passionate about”

“We want to approach patients in a multi-factorial way. Over time, we’ll be building up the team with clinicians from all different specialisms. From doctors, to speech and language therapists, mental health support, vocational support and charitable interventions.

“Our model enables professions to come together in a community of practice, based on competency and capability for the benefit of patient care and outcomes.”

You can read more about our Rehabilitation Services at AECC University College here.

Neil Langridge

Above: Dr. Neil Langridge