Friday, 19 November 2010

CABS 15th Anniversary Event

This event was such a feast of fascinating perspectives on research projects, biographical approaches, and their contribution to challenging understandings and changing practice. I loved what all the different speakers said and I've just been catching up by reviewing the videos on

I was particularly fascinated by the audio extract played to us by Joanna Bornat from one of the South Asian doctors who came to the UK to work in the NHS and found a future in geriatric medicine. He was interviewed by Parvati of Joanna's team, and he told of his transformation of a centre for 'incurables' - where he was supposed to just keep an eye on hopeless cases in a ward which no one had ever left - into a rehabilitation mode that gave people the opportunity to do physiotherapy and improve. His first quadriplegic man who had been written off progressed to the point where he was able to walk and return to his business as a butcher!

This took place in the 1970s and I remember my first job as a medical social worker at an orthopaedic hospital at that time - I don't recall the patients I saw ever being given the terminology of incurable but I do remember thinking that orthopaedic surgeons were at a bit of a loss if they couldn't find an operation to do.

Well done CABS - as well as many other virtues, biographical approaches give us the opportunity to revisit our own biographies and understand a little better the unfolding of history in our time.

Jill Reynolds

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