UK healthcare award winner wants to build unique rehab centre in India

Kashmira Sangle
Kashmira Sangle

A healthcare professional, who was recently awarded for her work to improve the quality of patient care in NHS, has said her dream is to start a rehabilitation and re-employment centre in India.

Kashmira Sangle, who trained as a physiotherapist in Maharashtra before moving to the UK in 2003, was awarded the Windrush 70 Award for Clinical Excellence last month as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the NHS recognising the significant contribution made by ethnic minorities to the health service.

Sangle was honoured for her work to improve the provision of wheelchairs in Berkshire, south-east England.

“It is my dream to start a rehabilitation and re-employment centre in India for spinal injury patients and victims of road accidents who are permanently house-bound. The centre will provide independence of mobility to these patients and help them gain employment, thus integrate them back in the society, she said.

“I would like to set up training and run a government-recognised training course in India on Posture Management and Assistive Technology for People with Complex Disabilities,” she added.

The healthcare professional, in her mid-thirties, is the clinical lead at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust. Her role sees her working with severely disabled children and adults and engaging with families and carers in the community. In addition, she has been actively involved in securing additional funding to improve staffing levels and reduce referral-to-treatment times for wheelchair users in the region.

She dedicated her award to her patients, who she says teach her a lot and keep her motivated.

“This award helps me further highlight the problems faced by disabled patients, their families and carers on day-to-day matters, which able bodied people like you and I would take for granted,” she said.

Sangle, who has maintained her strong ties with India through regular visits, is keen to also focus on the lack of speciality in the field of wheelchairs, posture management, pressure care, custom-made seating and assistive technologies for disabled people in the country of her origin.

“There are some good government schemes and good work being done by some individuals, but on a grassroots level what we have is mostly sales people selling wheelchairs.

“There is a need for marrying the two and training healthcare professionals like physiotherapists, occupational therapists and biomedical engineers in this field so they can provide specialised treatment to disabled patients, which will completely change the landscape for the disabled,” she said.

Sangle was the only physiotherapist shortlisted for the NHS Windrush 70 Awards, a reference to the ‘Windrush’ generation of migrants who came to join the workforce in the UK since the 1940s. Judges from NHS England and the UKs Care Quality Commission chose Sangle as the winner from a shortlist of four.

As part of her many efforts recognised by the award, Sangle also carried out a quality improvement project which offered early intervention to prevent pressure ulcers among wheelchair users.

“Over the years, I have tried very hard to build and grow our team and train people to develop empathy, so they are aware of all the problems that disabled people and their families face,” said Sangle, who has also set up a black and minority ethnic (BME) staff network at her trust.