Archive for the ‘Doctors’ Category

Event Report: Occupational Health in the Performing Arts Industry – The Original Gig Economy

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Health in the performing arts industry – whose responsibility?

Every year BAPAM helps with hundreds of inquiries about health problems related to working in the performing arts. These include musculoskeletal problems caused by strain and intensive use of parts of the body, vocal health issues which need specialist diagnosis and treatment, psychosocial problems including performance anxiety, stress related to the uncertain nature of the work (82% of the workforce are freelance) and more complex and enduring mental health conditions as well as hearing health problems. Performers, in common with other freelancers, tend to ignore health problems and seek help at a very late stage.  The research shows that, at any one time, 75% of performers will have a health problem.

We were delighted when the Royal Society of Medicine chose to partner with BAPAM on a professional development event held on March 27, 2019 to consider occupational health in the performing arts sector and its relationship to the wider ‘gig economy’. We were lucky to have a stellar line up of speakers from the arts, academic and clinical worlds to provide a range of perspectives on this question.

Kicking off the conference, Jane Dyball, former CEO of the Music Publishers Association outlined the complexity of the industry and the relationship of an artist to industry bodies at different times of their career. In the early stages, the artist may be very dependent on promoters, venues, managers, but that relationship changes when they are successful so that those bodies are dependent on the artist for their own success.

Dr. Colin Thomas, Chief Medical Officer of the BBC, added to the picture as he described the plethora of jobs undertaken by freelancers in broadcasting and the difficult balance between their tax status as self-employed workers and the duty of care issues that organisations owe to both employees and freelancers.

Zeb Soanes, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster and BAPAM Patron, described the moment when he suffered paralysis of one of his vocal cords and his journey back to full health and employment. He spoke with courage of the isolation and anxiety of losing your identity and the difficulties of accessing the right care in this very specialist area.

Professor Aaron Williamon of the Royal College of Music’s Centre for Performance Science, described results from recent research which demonstrated the lack of general fitness, particularly amongst student musicians.

In the afternoon we heard examples of good practice from Peter Garden of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Professor Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban. Peter outlined Liverpool Philharmonic’s approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. He and the Board have seen the impact of this investment on enhanced performance, improved employee satisfaction and engagement, and positive signs of reduced reliance on freelancers to cover sickness absence due to playing-related musculoskeletal injuries. Professor Redding outlined the advances in healthy practice in dance education and how a specialist health insurance scheme is helping to provide access to occupational health services.

Dr Rob Hampton, RCGP representative at Public Health England and a practising GP, described his own caseload and the difficulties for freelancers in accessing support with work-related health problems, the impact on the NHS and the evidence that working itself improves health. Dr John Etherington, NHS lead for rehabilitation, drew on research on performance enhancement in the military and in sport to demonstrate that effective training for the physical and vocation-related psychological demands as well as good rehabilitation after an injury can significantly improve health.

In this conference, the problems were clearly laid out and examples of solutions are available, but whose responsibility is it to drive the improvements? With over £5bn in UK annual revenue coming from the performing arts, it doesn’t seem sensible NOT to look after the health of the workforce, and leaving this role to charities on their own is not a sustainable solution.

Here are some thoughts from the BAPAM team on how the current position might be improved. First of all, to answer the question, who is responsible for improving performing arts health?

  1. Employers and Education Providers. These bodies do have a duty of care to employees and students. Liverpool Philharmonic has demonstrated the economic and artistic case for employers investing in healthcare. Many employers can and do support occupational health for performers. A consistent approach here would improve the health of 18% of the workforce. There are 50,000 students in performing arts education and Professor Williamon’s research, the practice in Dance Education and the work of the Healthy Conservatoires Network demonstrate what can and should be done to develop healthy behaviours in students and ready them for the realities of working life.
  2. The Freelance Performer. The performer is responsible for their own health (however, see point 3 below), including seeking help at an early stage and following the health behaviours which are evidenced to reduce the likelihood of health problems. Freelance performers who have learned these behaviours in education should be equipped for the working environment, but many performers have not had access to performance education. The provision of educational sessions and written and online materials together with peer support networks is crucial for this group. The Musicians’ Union, ISM, Equity, Help Musicians, Music Support as well as BAPAM and many other individual coaches and writers are currently offering support in this area.
  3. The Performance Environment. Research evidence tells us that good self-care is best achieved within organisational structures that support individual wellbeing. While other organisations in the industry may not have a direct responsibility for performers, they do have a responsibility for ensuring that the environment enables the performer to carry out their personal health responsibility. In addition to statutory health and safety duties, a culture and environment that encourages and supports healthy practice will help performers. As a very basic example, hydration is vital for performers – if there is no water available in a venue, it becomes difficult for the performer to practise this behaviour. What if the acoustics are so bad in a venue that the only way performers can hear themselves is turning the amps up excessively? What if there is a culture in your organisation that discriminates against certain groups or individuals, contributing to negative social relationships and mental health problems? What if the people you depend on don’t know where to go for help when they need it?

If this is a structure we can organise around, then what would a Health Manifesto for the Performing Arts look like?

  1. Everyone in the performing arts world needs to understand what healthy practice means, from the educator to the employer, individual performance professionals and any organisation or individual working in the business (managers, promoters, agents, labels etc).
  2. Everyone needs to know where and how to get clinical help when they need it.
  3. All funding options should be explored to develop a system-wide approach to providing for the health needs of performers, combining charitable funding sources with other sources of support including industry-specific insurance schemes, access to work funding etc.

We welcome responses by email at info@bapam.org.uk

New Clinics in Liverpool and Belfast

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

As part of our commitment to reach and support performers throughout the UK, we are pleased and excited to announce new regional clinics, this time in Liverpool and Belfast starting in May 2019. 

BAPAM are delighted to be working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who will host the clinic at the Philharmonic Hall, and Dr Marie McKavanagh, a Performing Arts Medicine specialist GP (and musician).

Liverpool Philharmonic have pioneered an exemplary approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing specialist health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. The positive effects of this investment are proving that performer wellbeing and artistic excellence are interlinked. Taking care of both also makes good business sense. Performers are healthier, happier, take less time off sick and are better prepared for elite performance. Through their key support for the new BAPAM clinic, Liverpool Philharmonic are now helping to bring this approach to the whole performing arts community.

The first clinic will be held on Wednesday 1st May. 

Belfast

BAPAM are also delighted to be working with the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast’s music hub, who will host the clinic, providing vital support for a healthy and vibrant performing arts community.

The clinic is led by Dr Christine Hunter, a BAPAM and  NHS GP and Medical Adviser to the Ulster Orchestra.

BAPAM’s Belfast Clinic will be held monthly from May 22

Who is the clinic for?

If you make a proportion of your living from, or study in the performing arts, and have a physical or psychological health problem related to your work, BAPAM can help you. BAPAM clinicians can provide an accurate diagnosis and information to help you overcome problems. The BAPAM team can identify the best sources of ongoing care, both in the NHS and from other specialists, and advise you about sources of financial support for people experiencing health problems affecting their ability to work or study.

Other regional clinics:

Glasgow: Friday 10th May, 7th June

Leeds: Thursday 2nd May

How to book a FREE confidential appointment?

Call 020 7404 8444 to register | Or email info@bapam.org.uk

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are recruiting an Orchestra Doctor

Monday, July 9th, 2018

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is looking for a local GP to become one of the Orchestra’s Doctors. The GP will ideally be interested in music. This is an interesting voluntary role which will consist of giving a few hours each month in return for concert tickets where possible.

The successful Doctor will become a member of AMABO (Association of Medical Advisors to British Orchestras) and BAPAM (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) which will involve one or two training days per year.

As one of the Orchestra’s Doctors you will be expected to come into rehearsals every couple of months or more frequently if desired, to meet with orchestra members who wish to discuss any health problems especial those which are performance-related. An interest in Rheumatology and MSK type disorders would be an advantage.

For further information please contact Natalie Wright at the BSO directly:

T: 01202 644704
E: nwright@bsorchestra.co.uk

You can also apply with CV and covering letter to the BSO.

Closing date for application is Monday 23rd July 2018 with interviews being held in Poole towards the end of the summer. Start date will be beginning of October.

The BSO is an equal opportunities employer.

Musicians’ Health and Wellbeing: Research and Policy

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

A one-day public engagement event funded by the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP)

Monday, 13th June 2016 | 9.30 am – 5 pm
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Thanks to researcher and event organiser, Raluca Matei, for sharing this information with us. Please note that places at this free event are limited and booking up quickly. To book a place and for any queries, please contact Raluca Matei (event organiser) raluca.matei@hotmail.com

The physical and psychological demands of the training and practice that musicians must achieve to perform to a high standard on their instruments can produce deleterious effects on health and wellbeing, arising mostly from musculoskeletal, neurological and audiological causes. How could an interdisciplinary approach address such issues? How does research in social sciences inform policy making? To answer these questions, we bring together a group of experts for an interactive discussion.

Speakers include

Public Policy: Dr. Caroline Kenny (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology)
Music psychology: Prof. Jane Ginsborg (Royal Northern College of Music)
Music education: Naomi Norton (Royal Northern College of Music)
Audiology & Psychology: Dr. Piers Dawes (University of Manchester)
Health psychology: Dr. Jenny McSharry (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Sports psychology: Dr. Andy Hill (York St John University)

 

Cambridge Clinics

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Dr Patricia Halliwell, NHS GP and graduate of the UCL MSc in Performing Arts Medicine, holds our Cambridge clinic for all performing arts professionals and students with work-related health concerns. The clinic takes place monthly at West Road Concert Hall. Forthcoming dates are February 26 and March 19.

Please get in touch if you’d like a free appointment for specialist advice.

Associate Medical Director Recruitment

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

We seek an Associate Medical Director (Sessional, Fixed Term) to work 8 sessions/month for 12 months on governance, quality assurance and workforce development. Regular clinic sessions are also involved.

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine is a medical charity providing people working and studying in the performing arts with specialised assessments in London and the regions.

You must be a licensed medical practitioner with management or governance experience and background in General Practice, Musculoskeletal Medicine, Rheumatology or Occupational Medicine. Experience in performing arts is desirable but not essential. Training is provided. The position can be based anywhere in UK, although regular travel is necessary.

If you are interested please inquire by email to Deborah Charnock, Chief Executive: deborah@bapam.org.uk

We will then send you an information pack, including a full job description and details of how to apply.

Closing date: 20 February 2015.

Clinics Update, January 2015

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

We’re delighted to welcome three new clinicians to our London team this year.

BAPAM gives free advice to those working or studying in the performing arts to help overcome work-related problems, both physical and psychological. Dr Anne Doherty, Consultant Psychiatrist, loves Opera and is a keen amateur musician. She is looking forward to applying her expertise to the psychological impact of performing and mental health issues affecting performance.

The performing arts can be a physically demanding industry to work in and our physiotherapy assessment service at the London clinic is always very busy. Our new physiotherapist, Sarah Upjohn, has been treating playing related injuries at The Purcell School for Young Musicians since 2008. Her doctoral research at the University of Cambridge involves developing an injury prevention, health promotion and performance wellness programme within the school. She is passionate and knowledgeable about injury prevention in instrumental musicians.

Dr Hara Trouli joins our team of medics, assessing work-related musculoskeletal problems. Hara has a background in orthopaedics, is a graduate of UCL’s Performing Arts Medicine MSc course, and a classically trained pianist. She is the Chair of ISSTIP, The International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance.

What is Performing Arts Medicine and Why is it Essential?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Jennie Morton speaks with the BMJ about the challenges of treating performing artists and musicians, her work with the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine, and the crossover project with the american college of sports medicine (athletesandthearts.com).

Jennie Morton is a UCL Honorary Lecturer on the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine, and lectures for The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, Dance UK and many performing arts schools and teaching organisations. She also co-runs a dance school in Tring, Hertfordshire, and is a faculty member of The Wells Summer School with Dancers of the Royal Ballet. She still performs as a professional singer with the Manhattan Music.

Creativity, Music and the Brain

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

What is the role of music in UK society? What happens to our brains when we listen to music? Can music help to heal the brain in physical and mental disorders? What does the musician’s brain teach us about neuroplasticity? What can we learn from a composer such as Chopin and from modern composers and musicians? 

Creativity, music and the brain: The power of music over the mind is the Royal Society of Medicine’s AGM and annual dinner, held on Tuesday 13 May 2014

Early bird tickets are now on sale here, where you can also find all the details of this fascinating event.

Medical Committee Recruitment

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

BAPAM Medical Committee 2014 – Recruitment of new members

We are developing a new BAPAM Medical Committee and are looking to recruit 6 to 10 doctors representing a range of specialties and regions across the UK. The Medical Committee is a subcommittee of the BAPAM Board. The Committee will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of BAPAM’s clinical work and advising the Board of Trustees on appropriate policy.

Applicants should be interested in contributing to BAPAM’s clinical leadership and governance and should be committed to the aims of the organisation. Click here to view or download the Terms of Reference for the Committee.

The positions are unpaid but all reasonable expenses will be met.

If you are interested, please send your CV and covering letter by e-mail or post to:

Dr Penny Wright, Lead Medical Trustee

BAPAM

34-36 Gray’s Inn Road

London WC1X 8HR

deborah@bapam.org.uk

Closing date for applications is 18 February 2014.

Interviews will take place on dates during March (to be finalised following shortlisting).  Unsuccessful applicants will be notified.