Meet our Service Manager at Woodlands, Jo Carruthers

Meet our Service Manager at Woodlands, Jo Carruthers


Our Service Manager at our Woodlands service, Jo Carruthers, gives us an overview of her experience in the industry, highlights the importance of a great team, and tells us her future plans for the service.

Woodlands is a Neurological Rehabilitation Service in Yorkshire. The service provides specialist Level 2 Neurological Rehabilitation and Neurobehavioural services for adults.

Can you tell us a bit about your career background and experience?

“I’ve had several different roles over the years. I’ve worked in Health and Social Care for about 23 years now, and specifically Acquired Brain Injury for the last 18 years.

“I started out on the front line, supporting patients in an Acquired Brain Injury Hospital. In that hospital I then became apart of the Clinical Governance department, and I was managing accreditations and compliance. From there I went onto be a registered manager of an Acquired Brain Injury service in Leeds. I worked within that organisation for about 17 years, and then I transferred with them into their quality assurance department as one of their advisors. I worked nationally reviewing services, ensuring service user care and service delivery were compliant. Following this I changed direction and became an area manager for a local charity of people with visual impairment. I enjoyed that role for 18 months, but I was missing working within a brain injury and neuro setting, so I jumped at the chance to join Woodlands. I knew about Woodlands previously and thought it would be a great opportunity. My passion has always been that people get the right care delivered by the right people and to ensure this I believe strongly in developing and nurturing the staff teams so they can provide this.”

What are the different team roles at Woodlands?

“We have an extensive team at Woodlands. We have a Matron lead nursing team. We have a Consultant and a junior Doctor onsite. We have a Head of Therapy who manages a full multidisciplinary team of therapists. We have a Head of Support Services who manages maintenance, catering, admin, and housekeeping teams.

“We’re very lucky, we have a full team, and we all work well together ensuring all aspects of service delivery are at a high standard.”

What is your favourite thing about working at Woodlands?

“The team are amazing. They are incredibly passionate about everything they do.

“They are so focused on service delivery and patient outcomes which is excellent because patients come in and fulfil their rehab potential. Many of our patients leave Woodlands to go back to be with their families, with no further care packages needed. That is just amazing! I’ve mostly worked in longer term rehab but working in a fast-paced service with quick and successful turnarounds is phenomenal to see.

“The team really pull it all together. They’re great.”

Can you give us an overview of the services that are provided at Woodlands?

“We provide specialist Level 2 Neurological Rehabilitation and Neurobehavioural services for adults, and we are based in York. 

“We support patients with acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury, severe neurological conditions, complex stroke, and spinal cord injury.

“We are lucky to be set in beautiful gardens and although close to the city centre, we have well cared for peaceful surroundings.”

What is your vision for the service and where would you like it to be in the next few years?

“We want to continue to provide specialist rehabilitation and maintain the great outcomes for the patients. That is our main focus.

“We are looking to develop Woodlands and we’ve got planning for 12 more beds to extend the service, which will hopefully commence in 2023. It’s an exciting time.

“Our therapy & nursing teams are building on all their skills not only to continue to provide a good service, but also making links with York District Hospital to provide Botulinum as part of spasticity management. One of our great wishes is to have our own spasticity clinic on site, and upscale our therapists to be able to lead this.

“Another thing that would be good for us is more specialist training onsite so we can invite external teams to it. We previously held a day of specialist training which was really successful. It great to benefit other local services as well as Woodlands.

“The team are currently building relationships with all the local treating teams to ensure they’re aware of the service we provide. We want to maintain these important links to provide appropriate and excellent rehabilitation and a smooth transition between services.

“We maintain good communication with our local commissioners, and they will be vital in assisting us with how the service develops and looking at what the need is locally.

“Everyone within the team has a lot of ideas for the development of Woodlands so it’s really good that people want to have that input. It’s wonderful to be on this journey with the team and I am excited to move the service forward with them.”

And finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

“I’ve got two rescue dogs from Romania, and they take up a lot of my time. I enjoy reading too.

“I’ve also got 2 daughters who I spend a lot of time with. We regularly go to concerts together as we’re all very into our music!”