National Spinal Injuries Centre upper limb studio shortlisted for HSJ Award

Date: 24/08/2021 | Category: News 2021

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is delighted to announce that its National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) Upper Limb Studio has been shortlisted for Acute Sector Innovation of the Year at this year’s HSJ Awards 2021.

The upper limb studio, which officially opened in May, provides a form of therapy known as Activity Based Restorative Therapy (ABRT). ABRT involves the use of equipment to facilitate repetitive movement to improve a patient’s level of independence following spinal cord injury.

Working within a therapeutic framework, the occupational therapy team within the National Spinal Injuries Centre has demonstrated the positive impact of ABRT rehabilitation, and the overall impact on functional tasks such as feeding, drinking, return to driving, carrying out aspects of personal care, and returning to work.

Following the launch of the studio, the occupational therapy team in the upper limb studio has continued to develop its work this area building relationships and collaborations with commercial companies, organisations, academic institutions and charities to create equipment prototypes and concepts. In this way the team carries forward the legacy of Professor Guttman* and remains at the forefront of rehabilitation innovation and research for the benefit of its patients.

David Smith MBE, a two times world champion and London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist, who underwent a period of rehabilitation at the NSIC, attending the Upper Limb Restorative Therapy Group on a daily basis, said: “The OT upper limb group was amazing. Not only did it provide me and the others in the group with a challenging programme of rehab, it gave me an enjoyable place to work hard, laugh and enjoy life all at the same time. This is crucial when going through such a massive change in life following a spinal cord injury. I was challenged every day with a combination of rehab approaches and established a great relationship with the staff and fellow patients which made the rehab process so much easier.”

Ruth Peachment, Occupational Therapy Clinical Specialist at the NSIC, and passionate ABRT advocate, said: “I’m so proud that all the hard work by the occupational therapy team has not only realised our aim of an upper limb studio but also helped to demonstrate that we continually strive on a daily basis to make sure we have the best facilities and most innovative programmes to support our patients. It’s timely that at the start of the Tokyo Paralympic Games the upper limb studio has been recognised by being shortlisted for an Acute Sector Innovation award.”

The upper limb studio was shortlisted out of over 1000 entries submitted for this year’s HSJ Awards. The judging panel was made up of respected figures within the healthcare community, including Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on

The official awards ceremony to announce the overall winners in each category will take place at Evolution, London on 18 November 2021.

*Find out more information about the National Spinal Injuries Centre including its association with the Paralympics and the work of Professor Guttman.