Clinic receptions – the good, the not so good and the simple fixes.

I visit quite a few clinics as I travel around on my IDD Therapy mission.  The standards vary enormously, but the number one thing I notice and differentiate is …. reception.

My general observation is that in the UK there are more receptionists who are are poor at greeting visitors than there are good ones.

And for me it doesn’t create a good impression.  The fact that I am writing this shows that it is something I have noticed a lot.  I would say that around 50% of my experience in a clinic is affected by how I am received.

A good impression sets the tone for the whole experience of the patient and it really isn’t difficult to do things right.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and the waiting staff can probably see you (they should see you!), but they don’t even make eye contact and say, hi, I’ll be with you in one moment.

Does it make you feel valued?  Of course not.

When I was at school, if anyone walked into a classroom we had to stand up, stop what we were doing and naturally give our attention to the visitor.  Then we sat down.

Many times I see reception staff barely acknowledge visitors.

The reception staff have no idea who the person is so why not accord all visitors at least a “hello/welcome, how can I help you/ I’ll be with you in just a moment” or, lock eyes, smile and nod of the head in acknowledgement if they are right in the middle of something.

I know some coaches who work with clinics.  On one occasion recently I commented on clinics where the whole reception experience was really positive and I found out that these were their clients … and they were very successful.  Coincidence? I think not.

For a bonus point, I think staff walking past reception can say hello to people in waiting chairs when there isn’t a huge crowd already.  They might not be their patient, but such an action is a fantastic illustrator of the team culture of the clinic.

My view, make eye contact and greet people as you would wish to be greeted.  It’s good for business.

Author: Stephen Small leads the IDD Therapy Disc Clinic network #changingspinecare








IDD Therapy now available in Darley Dale – Treeline Therapy Centre

Physiotherapy clinic Treeline Therapy Centre is the latest to expand its spine care services with IDD Therapy.

Here Clinic Director Jo Briddon describes the treatment:

Jo says:

“These days we are seeing a lot more people with disc issues. Back pain is not just about the disc of course, but as physios we need the right approach from the beginning to give us the best chance of giving our patients a long-term solution. IDD Therapy is a key part of how we can help patients with disc problems get on with their lives.” 

Physio Jo Briddon with her Accu SPINA at Treeline Therapy Centre















Treeline Therapy Centre is located in Darley Dale, Derbyshire.  For information visit

Welcome Jo to the community of IDD Therapy Disc Clinics.


Sporting metaphors and Leicester City in the last 8 of the Champions League!!!

I am from Leicester and this morning feel very excited because Leicester City are now in the last 8 of the Champions League!

Having won the premier league last season, just a few short weeks ago this football team was being written off. They were predicted to be relegated, players not performing, confused strategy and tactics …

The club did it rather badly but the heroic manager Claudio Ranieri was sacked.

Whether it’s a temporary rebound or not, equipped with a new strategy, a clear goal and a sense perhaps of needing to prove themselves, the team has undergone a complete transformation.

Same players, same level of talent but a change.

It occurs to me that many businesses and clinics go through the motions. They are stale.

This doesn’t mean fire the boss (you may be the boss!), but some catalyst to change is needed which can transform the fortunes of any business and breathe new life into team members.

The starting point for many could be a business or personal coach, to help draw out the vision of what someone really wants to achieve. The clear setting of goals, taking the proverbial head out of the sands when looking at the future and then implementing change.

Or it’s a case of meeting people from outside your current sphere/ goldfish bowl to get some fresh perspective on what others are doing.

Leicester City shows me that we are all capable of doing a lot better than we think, but we have to find a way to channel that energy, sprinkle a good dose of belief and maybe a little bit of luck into the mix and then we can achieve our goals.

Some talent is necessary but in the business world, tenacity and perseverance trump talent in the long game.

Leicester may get relegated and knocked out of the Champions League or they could stay up and win the Champions League! But their lesson is plain to see.

And now, bring on Barca!


Stephen Small is Director of Steadfast Clinics and IDD Therapy Disc Clinics, the largest network of spinal disc treatment providers. Help more patients and grow your practice by becoming an IDD Therapy Disc Clinic


A Quiet Crisis In Pain Management Within The NHS?

The British public is a fairly stoic bunch on the whole.  When it comes to chronic back pain, while there are still paths to be directed along, pain sufferers will go from one appointment to another without too much fuss.  But can more be done for back pain patients in limbo?

Any professional discussion about back pain invariably begins with the churning out of familiar back pain facts. Delve a little deeper and very different stats come to light showing that current services are not meeting the needs of patients.

One third of back pain patients presenting to a GP come with a recurring problem suffered in the previous year.  A further third of back pain patients will be coming with a persistent disabling problem.

These figures illustrate the extent to which back pain consumes the NHS. But what happens to patients next?

After seeing their GP, chronic back pain patients can be referred to a pain clinic.  But according to a patient survey by the National Pain Audit 2013, over 50% of respondents report little or no help from current NHS pain services.  The National Pain Audit 2010-2012 records that “It appears that pain clinics are being commissioned (or are providing) care almost exclusively for people with back pain.

Combining the two commentaries, we might reasonably infer that 50% of back pain patients referred to an NHS Pain Clinic feel that current pain services provide little or no benefit.

Pain clinics provide a range of services including manual therapy (physiotherapy), counselling services, pain management (medication) and spinal injections.  From there the next step would be surgery for certain patients.

There is no single cure for back pain and there are many different back pain conditions.  But common to many sufferers is a lack of mobility and spinal compression: sometimes in association with a disc-related problem.

The IDD Therapy Disc Programme takes a structured conservative approach. Rather than manage pain with medication or provide a short term pain relief window with injections, the IDD Therapy programme   decompresses targeted spinal segments, restores mobility and helps patients to rehabilitate where current methods fall short.

It takes time to bring about change but The IDD Therapy Disc Clinic Network is demonstrating a shift in conservative care and there is growing interest in certain influential corridors about the potential for IDD Therapy within the national Pain Clinic infrastructure.  Watch this space.

AVAILABILITY: At the time of writing, the IDD Therapy Disc Programme is not available on the NHS.  It is available privately in physiotherapy, osteopathic and chiropractic clinics.  To find your nearest clinic, look at the Clinic Finder