The National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science has communicated its disappointment at not being consulted about the quick closure of a specialist dance injury clinic. The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital has closed its clinic at short notice, which is likely to cause delays in rehabilitation.
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’s service was planned to end in 2020 as the National Health Service concentrates its London-based specialist services centres into fewer centres, but it will now close at the end of August. It has been reported that the closure was accelerated after its only consultant, Dr Roger Wolman, announced his retirement. Treatments for injured dancers have been cancelled and new appointments have been rejected after the sudden closure of the pioneering clinic.
New patients are now being directed to Mile End Hospital, where the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science established a second dance injury clinic earlier this year. It feels more could have been done to inform dancers and manage their transition to Mile End, after it helped found the dance clinic seven years ago
The clinic had provided free specialist healthcare to more than 1,300 dancers since 2012. The National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science first heard of its closure when dancers alerted them that they were being rejected for appointments. The hospital’s plan to transfer care to other sports and exercise medicine centres is good in theory, but it was specifically chosen when the clinic was set up because of their expertise in orthopaedics.
An online petition for dance-specific injury clinics has attracted more than 6,000 signatures. Dancers have also taken to social media to express their support and share stories of their interactions with the clinic.