National honour for Gorleston blind physiotherapist

Physiotherapy staff with Mike Cassidy, centre nack.

Physiotherapy staff with Mike Cassidy, centre nack. - Credit: Archant

A physiotherapist from Gorleston has received a national honour for his work after being nominated by colleagues at East Coast Community Healthcare.

Mike Cassidy, who has been blind since birth, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy recently in recognition of his work to support visually impaired people.

Mike recently retired after working as a physiotherapist for more than 40 years, most recently with ECCH's team at the Cranbrook Unit at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

He was chair of the Association of Visually Impaired Chartered Physiotherapists from 1989 to 1991 and 2008 to 2011. During that time he acted as an expert witness in a case of professional misconduct involving a member before the Health and Care Professions Council. He has delivered presentations to the TUC Disabled Persons Conference on the impact of political and legal change. He also worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to champion improved computer accessibility for people with visual impairments in healthcare roles, including speaking at conferences in Italy and France.

ECCH's clinical co-ordinator for musculoskeletal services Emma Lansdell, who supported the nomination for the honour, said: 'We're so pleased Mike has been recognised in this way. He was an inspiring leader within the physiotherapy team, motivating and empowering colleagues and patients with his positive outlook and the way he embraced the challenges he faced.

'He always demonstrated a level of curiosity and creativity that enabled him to explore innovative ways of providing the best quality of care to patients, getting the most out of every situation.'

Mike, who is a churchwarden at St Andrew's Church in Gorleston, said: 'I am delighted, surprised and very humbled. I wouldn't have expected to get this and I had no idea it was going to happen until I received a letter from the Society.

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'The physiotherapists at Northgate are a great team. They were very helpful to me and we worked together very well.'

Pictured are ECCH staff with Mike Cassidy (back row, centre) on his last day at the Cranbrook Unit, Northgate Hospital.