British School of Osteopathy Interview
Interview with Dr Petrides by the British Osteopathic Association
In the Spotlight with Dr Simon Petrides MB BS DO DM-S Med Dip Sports Med FFSEM (UK&I)
Dr Simon Petrides has the unusual title of musculoskeletal, Osteopathic and sports physician which reflects the unique and ground-breaking nature of the medical career he has carved out for himself.
After studying medicine at Guys hospital in London in the early eighties, he worked for one year as a pre-registration house officer before taking the unusual decision to step off the medical career ladder in order to study Osteopathy on the shortened doctor’s course at The BSO in London.
On completion of the course in 1988 he bought a small Osteopathic clinic in Milton Keynes which he has developed into a rare and innovative model of an integrated, multi-disciplinary musculoskeletal centre and sports clinic.
The clinic now has 20 treatment rooms, a membership gymnasium, Pilate’s studio, two injection fluoroscopy theatres and has expanded to include 4 other clinics located in Bicester, Croydon, Guildford and Brighton.
Practitioners range from specialist medical doctors to osteopaths, physios and an ayurvedic practitioner and the clinic runs programs such as an ‘adolescent obesity’ program and an ‘exercise on prescription’ program from NHS GPs.
Simon’s own speciality is based on his interest in the spine with assessment by video fluoroscopy and treatment of lumbar and sacroiliac instability by prolotherapy injections and he is regularly referred premiership footballers and international and Olympic rowers from GB Rowing.
He has a diploma in Sports Medicine and a diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine and a few years ago was elected as a Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. This year he was appointed medical officer at the London Olympic Games.
He is Vice-patron of The British School of Osteopathy and Vice-president of The British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine (BIMM) – an organisation of doctors with an interest in examination treatment of the musculoskeletal system using non-surgical methods, primarily manual therapy and injection treatments. He is currently working with the BIMM and the GMC to design a robust ‘Credentialing’ system for doctors wishing to work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.
Simon lives between Bedford and Northampton in a small village with his wife, Kate, and three children.
Q) Simon, you completed your undergraduate medical training at Guys hospital in London in the early eighties, did your first year as a pre –reg house officer and then did something rather extraordinary – you stepped off the medical path and decided to train as an osteopath? Why did you do that?
Interestingly, while realising I did not want to further my medical education in hospital medicine or general practice I met an osteopath by the name of Theresa Devereux who suggested that I may be in some demand as an osteopath with medical training. Being young, free and single at the time meant that I could further embark upon more education as well as the usual advantages of maintaining the student lifestyle! Theresa, who coincidentally approached me about this article, actually influenced my decision to immediately apply to the British School of Osteopathy for the shortened doctor’s course.
Q) …..any regrets about choosing that path?
I have no regrets for choosing that path at all and I hope I have inspired other doctors to do the same in order to optimise the assessment and treatment using techniques learnt from the various Osteopathy schools and colleges in the country. It has enabled me to forge a path parallel to most of my colleagues in NHS careers. I could detect the huge need for non-surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system and the lack of enlightened doctors at that time.
Q) How have you found the world of Osteopathy compared to the medical world?
The osteopathic training enabled me to look at the function of the musculoskeletal system and it equipped me with the necessary tools to detect abnormalities in that function. This skill is something which is difficult to learn and takes a lifetime to master. Some doctors attend the London College of Osteopathic Medicine over one year and have also attained those skills – I work with some of these doctors at the British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine.
Osteopathy enabled me to set up practice with patients understanding what I did but there was the inevitable antipathy from some orthodox practitioners but I strived relentlessly to bridge that gap and manage to establish a good relationship with the GPs and most hospital doctors in the area.