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Equine physios go back to NHS roots during Covid pandemic

Veterinary physiotherapists across the UK have gone back to their roots to help the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) physios are all trained to treat humans as well as animals. And when Covid hit, many responded to the call for help.

One of these was Manessa Faal, who told H&H she had still been working part-time in NHS outpatient departments anyway, but has increased her hours since the start of the pandemic.

“It was scary at the start because no one knew what was going on,” she said.

“There was all this information coming from Italy and the US; but the NHS has been so good, and so on it. Everyone pulled together.”

Manessa has upped her hours since Covid numbers started to rise again, working on wards to help restore the strength of those who have been bed-bound but also supporting patients in intensive care units.

“We’re all healthcare workers anyway so everyone was willing,” she said.

Manessa, the first Black ACPAT physio in the UK, has ridden since childhood. She grew up in Bradford city centre, where none of her friends rode.

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“I used to say I wanted to work with horses and people didn’t understand why I’d want to do that,” she said. “It’s that culture; if you haven’t been exposed to something, you might not think it’s something you could do.

“But my mum had ridden as a kid so she was the driving force behind getting me to where I wanted to be, which is amazing.”

Manessa has two horses, Sarah and Breeze, and is building up her riding after she fractured her spine in a fall over two years ago.

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