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On 27th June 2014 we attended the 31st Guttman Conference hosted by the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville. How apt that the conference was held where “Poppa” Guttmann practiced and when Stoke Mandeville Hospital was celebrating its 70th anniversary of providing spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation.
The organising committee at the National Spinal Injuries Centre put on a packed programme with a variety of speakers covering a diverse range of topics. More than 200 delegates from across the UK and Ireland attended, amongst them spinal cord injury consultants, doctors, nurses, case managers, physiotherapists, OTs, students, researchers, charity representatives, solicitors and others with an interest in spinal cord injury.
The day began with Professor Paul Kennedy’s marvellous presentation on Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s road to Stoke Mandeville’, highlighting Guttman’s early influences and work with Otto Foerster, his treatment of Lenin and his escape from Nazi Germany.
Kevan Baker OBE, Chairman of WheelPower, closed proceedings with an equally enthralling talk on the beginnings of the Stoke Mandeville games and the Paralympics as we now know them. There’s a great article here on the British Paralympic Associations website.
During the day there were presentations on the research and innovative thinking that has been taking place across the spinal cord injury field: the Salisbury Assessment Method, medical physics in Middlesbrough, statistical tends, web based assistance for GPs, research priorities & clinical pathways and the National Spinal Injuries Database.
It was an important, interesting and thought provoking day in the spinal world. We are already looking forward attending the 32nd Guttman Conference in Salisbury in 2015.