In conversation with …. PATRICK HANLEY

Patrick Hanley APC Physio – Fermoy & Cork

APC – Avondhu Physiotherapy Clinic was founded in 2008 by Patrick Hanley (MISCP). With clinics based in Fermoy and Cork City, it has garnered a reputation for excellence with professional sports teams and individuals right across Munster and Ireland.

1. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

The main thing that drives me daily is the satisfaction I get when I see people liberated from pain allowing them to get back to what they enjoy doing most in their lives. This is an excellent feeling, especially in cases where people report that they have completely stopped engaging in everyday activities due to persistent pain and discomfort. As we say at APC ‘Move Well, Feel Well, Be Well’ 

2. What is the most rewarding part of being your own boss?

I laugh and say this with a smile, but being the boss is not always as good as it is made up to be. There are arduous decisions to be made regularly and as the clinic grows you become more and more responsible for your employees. That said, it is gratifying to see our team expand and our clinics perform year on year with the knowledge that your persistent work is what is driving it forward. It is most enjoyed being able to continuously enhance and develop the quality of our services for our customer’s benefit.

3. What is your educational background?

My third level journey started back in 1997 in UCC where I did Biological and Chemical Sciences, majoring in Neuroscience. From there I went to St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, where I worked and continued my studies in Histology, Medical Laboratory Science. After a little less than two years, the calling for physiotherapy came and I enrolled in a diploma massage and sports injury course just to test the water. On completion of this, I followed my instincts when I was accepted to study in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North East of England.

Since graduating in 2008 study and upskilling has never stopped and that is the brilliant thing with this profession. You can continually learn, improve, refine and diversify. I also completed strength & conditioning courses through Setanta College to further compliment the standards I expect of myself and for those attending the clinic.

I have attended dozens of courses with world leaders in their fields on back and neck pain, shoulder specialists, hip and groin researchers, as well as almost a decade of work with Munster rugby and IRFU in the underage, academy and national squad development.

4. In what way do you and your business give back to your local community?

We give back in numerous ways every year. On a local level, we work with local clubs and societies providing workshops and seminars to help improve people’s knowledge and understanding about common problems we see in clinics that are often easier to treat in a proactive, rather than reactive way. We also give free in house presentations on specific topics of interest and regularly include special guest speakers. We provide numerous student placements also.

5. Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently?

There are several things that you could do differently, but that is the benefit of hindsight. The main thing is that we take great pride in providing exceptional service for anyone attending our clinics. With that, we listen to feedback from our clients and continually make the necessary changes, ensuring no stone is left unturned so that the quality of our service remains high and effective. 

6. Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 2-5 years?

Continuing to offer a wider range of services to our clients. The main focus is to be able to test and analyse the results so that we can then take proactive steps with the end result being about improving one’s overall health and fitness in a sensible manner.

7. What was the most challenging obstacle you encountered? How did you overcome this obstacle?

Covid-19 was unquestionably up there, but I am grateful and incredibly proud of how my team stood up to the mark, working from home to help improve our systems and to prevail in connection with our clients. I certainly learned that having a reliable team is what it is all about in challenging circumstances. 

8. In what way has Covid-19 impacted your business?

Let’s put it this way. Pre Covid we were fully booked in the clinic and with our in house Pilates, Rehab and Movement Revolution classes. Once the lockdown was announced that was reduced back by 95% due to the national fear and unknown entity we faced. We then rallied to get everything online with both consultations and classes growing in numbers week on week. We are grateful for all the kind words of support over these times and are delighted to be back up and running and are in our fourth week officially open.

Thankfully there are various grants and support schemes to help small and medium enterprises like ourselves diversity and upgrade online systems to facilitate dealing with the changes we are faced with. Thankfully, clients’ experiences and feedback regarding the online video consultations and Pilates and Movement Revolution classes has been very positive and we will definitely be keeping this going in the future. 

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Things are busy at the moment with two smallies, Oisin is nearly three and Senan is nearly one, so the thought of ‘spare time’ makes me laugh. However, I try to get out for a run or even squeeze in the odd game of racquetball, squash or soccer. I also enjoy hanging out with friends when we get the chance. 

10. If you could change anything in your business, in your local community or the world around you, what would that be?

I always had a vision of ‘what if’ every town in Ireland had a central facility that served the community. A centre that has sports facilities for young and old, including social activities and entertainment, including a restaurant. A place that everyone in the community could avail of. Such a central facility would be easier to maintain and to a higher standard and serve the broader community on so many levels.