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Childrens Services

Acute Paediatric Physiotherapy

Our Paediatric Physiotherapy Team provides a comprehensive range of high quality care for babies, children and young adults with musculoskeletal, neurological or cardio-respiratory conditions.

Our vision is to provide the highest standard of patient and family-centred care that is innovative and forward-thinking.

The services we deliver range from treatments for common disorders, to more specialist care for complex problems, such as hydrotherapy, non-invasive ventilation and Ponsetti casting for congenital foot deformities.

Care and support when and where you need it

Our 28-strong team includes clinical specialists, and highly skilled and experienced physiotherapists and assistants. Many of our services are regional, so we treat children and young adults from all over North East, and sometimes from across the UK. We see patients at the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and at the Freeman Hospital.

Outpatient appointments

For some of our specialty services, we offer outpatient appointments, home visits or school visits. We also run outreach clinics in towns such as Carlisle, Darlington and Sunderland.

For all our patients, the first stage of treatment is a comprehensive assessment. This is carried out by an experienced paediatric physiotherapist, who is skilled in helping children and their families feel at ease. Once we’ve identified the problem, we believe in involving the whole family to set goals for your child’s treatment.

We aim to make treatment sessions fun and interactive, and involve the whole family as much as possible. We may also help you to learn treatment techniques you can continue with your children yourself, outside of hospital. We work closely with all the healthcare professionals involved in your child’s care, and we're involved in discharge-planning and referral to local community physio teams.

Meet our team

Paediatric physiotherapy Team Leader - Led by

  • Victoria Mitchinson

Our team is divided into three specialty areas:

Musculoskeletal Team - Led by

  • Julie Allen – Orthopaedics
  • Sharon Solan – Orthopaedics
  • Liz Hardy – Rheumatology

This team incorporates orthopaedics and rheumatology.

Our orthopaedic service covers an inpatient orthopaedic ward (that admits both trauma and elective patients) and outpatients. Outpatient referrals are accepted from consultants within the Trust, GPs and paediatricians - these include trauma and routine conditions. We also treat congenital (from birth) abnormalities, including foot deformities and hip dysplasia. We also run regular hydrotherapy sessions and gym classes.

Our rheumatology service covers both in and outpatients for inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions that may need drug therapy, joint injections, casting and in some cases rehabilitation stays. All our patients are given advice, education and individualised exercise programmes.

We also offer direct access to our physiotherapy service through the consultant-led clinics, as well as routine out-patient appointments. This service covers out-reach clinics in Sunderland, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle. 

Cardio-respiratory Team - Led by

  • Victoria Mitchinson – Long-term Ventilation
  • Nuala Byrne – Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectasis
  • Stephanie Rutter – Cystic Fibrosis
  • Anna Stancombe – Bronchiectasis, Paedicatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and surgey
  • Kate Teeley – PICU
  • Karen Caulfield – Cardiothoracics
  • Rachel McConnell – Cardiothoracics

The Respiratory Team cares for children in both the GNCH and the Children’s Cardiothoracic Centre at the Freeman Hospital. We work with children of all ages with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, following surgery, complex heart surgery, heart or lung transplant, and pneumonia. We treat children on the wards, in PICU, Paediatric High Dependency Unit, and sometimes in a clinic, school or home.

With young children their development may be delayed, especially if they are sick for long periods of time. We will assess and provide advice for this.  

Rehabilitation Team - Led by

  • Pat Dulson – Neonates
  • Rachel Lockwood – Oncology
  • Sarah Watling – Acute neurology and neurorehabilitation
  • Claire Marcroft – Neonates and neurodevelopment
  • Louise Graham - Oncology
  • Maggie Marshall - Neuro Rehabilitation

Children admitted to the GNCH with an acute neurological problem will be assessed and, if necessary, treated by our team. We see children who have had an injury to their brain or spine due to an accident, infection, bleed or a tumour.

We also see young children to assess and give treatment for developmental delay. If a baby is born prematurely, they may need to be seen for chest physiotherapy assessment and treatment, and developmental assessment. They will be seen initially on the Special Care Baby Unit and followed up in clinics or as outpatients.

Children and teenagers with any type of cancer will be seen on the Children’s Cancer ward or Teenage Cancer Unit, day unit or outpatient department. We can also see children at home and school to give advice and support.

Our facilities

At the GNCH we have a paediatric therapy department consisting of:

  • three treatment areas
  • sensory room
  • splint room
  • paediatric gym (which includes a state of the art 3D interactive gym)

There is also a rehabilitation room and sensory room on the neuro-rehabilitation ward at GNCH.

At the Freeman site we access the gym and often use the play rooms to carry out therapy.

A thank you from one of our young patients!

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

  • Victoria Mitchinson (Team Leader)
  • 0191 282 1796 or 0191 282 1285
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