Hospital physiotherapists nominated for major award for life-saving work

BRADFORD hospital physiotherapists treating patients with COVID-19 have been nominated for a major award.

The innovative team used CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy to treat hundreds of patients on the COVID wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, saving hundreds of lives. More than 2,600 COVID patients have now been made well enough to return home to their families.

In recognition of their work, the physiotherapists have been nominated in the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards 2021. Their project ‘Utilisation of CPAP by Physiotherapists’ has been shortlisted in the Post-Covid Sustainable Transformation Award category.

Dr Tom Lawton, an Intensive Care Consultant (ICU) and Anaesthetist at the Trust nominated the team for the award.

He said: “The idea behind the project was to prevent ICU from being overwhelmed with patients and so we looked at stepping up the provision of CPAP therapy on the wards; this is a treatment where a stream of oxygenated air is delivered into the airways through a mask and a tube.

“This is a relatively complicated treatment to be delivered on the wards but the physiotherapists stepped in and supported nursing staff with teaching and training around how it was delivered. In the first wave of the virus, around 30 per cent of patients were able to be treated with CPAP therapy, greatly reducing the need for patients to be intubated (placed on respirators) and as a result a great many lives were saved.

Tremendous support

“I am incredibly proud of the tremendous support from the physiotherapy team. This is a massive achievement and they are truly deserving of this award.”

Specialist Respiratory Physiotherapist Liz Newton led the project along with her fellow physiotherapist, Karen Boden.

She said: “We started out with seven of us delivering the CPAP therapy and ended up with a team of 17. The respiratory physiotherapists were joined by the musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapists. Everyone was keen to help so it has truly been a team effort.

“We made sure we were on the wards from 8am to 9pm every day to support staff. In the beginning we really didn’t know what to expect from the virus but everyone involved in the delivery of this project has been stoic. It has been very emotional. Obviously there have been times of great sadness but it has been exhilarating to see people made better through the use of CPAP and to see them go home.

Dedicated colleagues

“It is lovely to be recognised by this nomination and I feel very privileged to have worked with such dedicated colleagues and know that we have saved so many lives.”

Nicola Evans, Liz Newton, Abigail Crabtree, David Allen, Grace Jones, Pail Wilczynski, Zain Ul-Aabideen, Anesu Madanha, Karen Boden and Nikki Whiteley formed part of the team. They worked alongside Ben Tonks, Sophie Cullen, James Copland, Molly Williams, Hannah Finan, James Cowell-Smith, Zoe Wood, Zoe Smith, Bunty Metcalfe, Killian Egan, Phoebe Ratledge, Ashley Delaney, Lewis Woodhouse, Jen Layton, and Darragh McGee. 

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: “We would like to congratulate Bradford Teaching Hospitals on being shortlisted in the ‘Post-COVID Sustainable Transformation’ category for the HSJ Value Awards 2021.

“This year’s finalists have not only contributed to the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within the NHS but have also been exceptionally dedicated to enhancing healthcare across the UK. We are honoured to be recognising and celebrating their outstanding work after what is, no doubt, the most challenging year in the history of the NHS.”

The winners will be selected following a rigorous, second stage of judging ahead of the HSJ Value Awards 2021 awards ceremony in June.


PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R) Nicola Evans, Liz Newton, Abigail Crabtree, David Allen, Grace Jones, Pail Wilczynski, Zain Ul-Aabideen, Anesu Madanha, Karen Boden and Nikki Whiteley.

The other members of the team not on the photo are Ben Tonks, Sophie Cullen, James Copland, Molly Williams, Hannah Finan, James Cowell-Smith, Zoe Wood, Zoe Smith, Bunty Metcalfe, Killian Egan, Phoebe Ratledge, Ashley Delaney, Lewis Woodhouse, Jen Layton, and Darragh McGee.



For further media information, please contact or call 01274 364700.

Note to Editors:

  1. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services for the people of Bradford and communities across Yorkshire. We serve a core population of around 500,000 and provide specialist services for 1.1 million people.

Our 5,500 staff work over several sites, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, which provides the majority of inpatient services, and St Luke’s Hospital, which predominantly provides outpatient and rehabilitation services. We also manage local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.

In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of a £75m investment to improve patient care across our hospitals over a five-year period. It provides world-class facilities for elderly care, children’s services, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit with increased single-room provision and a retail concourse.

The new wing is a continuation of our work to improve patient experience after our new £2 million neonatal unit officially opened in January 2015. Our maternity services were recently shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Midwifery Service of the Year Award, recognising excellence and innovation in the provision of maternity care.

In 2017, we also completed a £2m refurbishment of our Emergency Department (ED) as part of an ambitious vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service for the people of Bradford. It has been designed to provide a slicker and more efficient service, with faster senior clinical involvement at an early stage in the patient pathway.

As a teaching hospital, we are at the forefront of education and development in healthcare, and have an excellent reputation for research performance. We are one of the leading centres in conducting applied research in the country, particularly in quality and safety, elderly care and rehabilitation.

The Trust is home to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) where researchers have led the development, validation and implementation of the award-winning Bradford Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) which helps calculate an elderly person’s risk of disability, impairment, falls and complications of chronic diseases, as well as their diminishing independence and capability. This is now being used by 98% of all GPs across the country.

Our award-winning Ophthalmology department is home to numerous worldwide clinical trials taking the lead in eye care research and we are one of only three sites in the United Kingdom to be enlisted in the Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Hip Fracture Care of Patients with Dementia (PERFECTED) study, which will investigate how the NHS can introduce better standards of care to improve outcomes for people with dementia.

The Trust has its own Bradford Hospitals Charity:

Follow us on Twitter: @BTHFT


For more information please visit