On June 27th 2022, the new BSPRM website opens. The BSPRM is the British Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, and you are welcome to our new website. This post introduces our new website, which uses our Society’s new name. I outline the history of our society and its ever-changing name. In more detail, I will give the history of the new website. Last, I will consider the future of the site, our goals, our aspirations, and our hopes. If you, the reader, are a member of our Society, please contribute to the site. If you, a reader, are a professional interested in our Society, please consider joining.
Rehabilitation in the UK 1943-2022
The first specialist medical society for doctors interested in rehabilitation was the British Association of Physical Medicine, founded in 1943. At that time, the word rehabilitation had only just been used with its current meaning, and Physical Medicine was the term used in the US. Physical medicine was closely associated with orthopaedic surgery and rheumatology, and in 1970 it became the British Association for Physical Medicine and Rheumatology. At some later date, rehabilitation replaced physical medicine, and the society became the British Association for Rheumatology and Rehabilitation.
In 1983, the Society was divided, with the rehabilitation half becoming the Medical Disability Society. This then became the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM) in 1990, and over the next 30 years, it grew to become an organisation that had influence through its guideline and standards.
However, there was a move to reintroduce Physical Medicine, and on December 31st, 2021, we voted to change the name again to the British Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The Charity Commission confirmed the name change at the end of April 2022. This website is the first significant public manifestation of that name. A more detailed history of rehabilitation in the UK is available here.
The importance of an attractive, informative and regularly updated website is obvious.
The first BSRM website was set up many years ago using Microsoft Office FrontPage. In 2015 a new website was commissioned from a specialist provider. It became dated and was not user-friendly. This is our third version.
History of the new BSPRM website.
On November 11th, 2020, at the annual conference of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine, which includes our annual general meeting, I failed to become the next president of the BSRM. Fortunately, I had listened to an excellent talk by Leslie Scobbie at the conference, discussing goal adaptation by patients after a sudden onset disability (e.g. after a stroke). That night I decided to set up this website, Rehabilitation Matters, which I did.
Setting up and filling a website showed me that it is now straightforward to set one up. It also made me appreciate relatively how poor the BSRM website was, a point that Manoj Sivan, the victor in the presidential election, had been pushing for some time. At the next Executive Committee meeting of the BSRM on 17th February 2021, I suggested developing the website or setting up a new one. The committee accepted the suggestion.
I gathered interested people to form a Website Working Group and the first meeting on 14th April 2021 was attended by Anna Brain, Damon Hoad, Pam Enderby, Jav Haider, and Shigong Guo. We developed a more detailed proposal, but the final agreement to proceed was delayed, and our next meeting was on September 22nd 2021. We recognised that the website was only part of a much-needed communication strategy for the Society during the development phases, and we became the Communication sub-committee. John Burn, President of the BSRM, joined us for the third meeting on November 2nd 2021. Most other members had left the committee by that stage.
When the BSRM formally recognised us as a subcommittee on November 9th, 2021, we only had two elected members (Jav Haider and Derick Wade) and one co-opted member, Damon Hoad. John Burn and Marlene Worrell (Executive Assistant to the BSRM) were also co-opted as members. Then, in April 2022, three more members of the BSPRM volunteered to join the committee and are now co-opted members: Asma Khan, Atif Rana, and Anas Hassan. They are all trainees.
By January 2022, we had discovered an excellent web designer, Niki Peach (www.nikipeachdesign.com), who has worked with many organisations in Oxford and elsewhere, and we held our first (virtual) meeting on January 7th 2022. The first draft of the website was available by March – there were delays due to Covid – and we have since made excellent progress.
Over the last few months, we have:
- Refined the structure sufficiently to allow publication. It will doubtless change more.
- Attracted some content from members of the Society, starting to flesh out what the Society does and give more information.
- Started an exciting development of training materials for anyone interested in rehabilitation, led by and now run by the trainees
- Learned how to manage the website (Jav and I are still learning, and we have excellent video tutorials to help).
Current communication platforms.
The communication subcommittee has initiated activity on various Social Media sites to improve communication and publicity.
We first had a Twitter account, @BSRehabMed, in February 2019, and by the 19th of March 2021, we had 1694 followers. I was surprised because we had only posted 140 tweets over 25 months, about five each month. We have, since September 2021, published an additional 93 tweets, about 12 a month, and we now (June 23rd, 2022) have 2073 followers, an increase of 370 people.
We set up a Facebook page in October 2021 at https://www.facebook.com/RehabMedicineUK. The trainees already had a Facebook group, and we will be amalgamating the accounts. We have recently set up an Instagram account. On June 17th, we agreed on a work split among the committee members.
The development of the site will depend crucially upon members of the Society. They must provide the content.
One purpose of the website is to allow easy public access to our Society. Though it is probably of little interest to most people, we anticipate making available information about:
- all our committees – their name, the names of committee members, including the chair, their purpose, the matters they are concerned with and so on.
- all or special interest groups – their name, the names of committee members, including the chair, their purpose, the work they are undertaking, how non-members can help with their work and so on
- governance matters, which we should make accessible as part of our charitable status, such as the constitution, details about trustees and their terms of office, policies relevant to governance matters etc
- research the members are involved in, including recruiting participants into research projects.
We will develop our educational content in line with one of our charitable objects. This may include more general education for the public, in line with another of our charitable objects.