It is with sadness that we share the news that long-time ICS member, Dr Jo Laycock, passed away on August 8 following a long battle with brain cancer.
She studied Physiotherapy at the Bradford School of Physiotherapy. It was at the same university, where in 1991, she obtained her PhD entitled ‘Assessment and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction’. She was one of the first Physiotherapists to have a PhD in pelvic health physiotherapy. She worked at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (National Health Service) and at The Culgaith Clinic in Cumbria. It was at the later clinic, where she trained many UK and international physiotherapists.
From the beginning of her career, patient-centred care underpinned her research, teaching and clinical work. Her contribution to continence care and pelvic health physiotherapy is exceptional and she is considered by many as one of the ‘game changers’ of pelvic health physiotherapy and a catalyst for what we are today. She has mentored, supported and encouraged young researchers and clinicians pursuing careers in continence research, education or continence practice around the world. She was known for her keen interest in clinical questions, critically exploring new ways of assessing and treating the pelvic floor. A few of her great accomplishments were the development and validation of a PFM assessment tool (PERFECT Scheme) and the designing of a vaginal probe and pelvic floor contraction indicator, all currently used by many professionals worldwide. She has published extensively in the field, co-edited or contributed to several text books on continence and pelvic floor rehabilitation.
For her services to the profession, she was honoured in 1993 with a Fellowship from The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and for her services to continence, she received the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE) from the Queen in 2001. In 2011 she received the ICS Lifetime Achievement Award as her contribution to physiotherapy was recognised not only by physiotherapists but by the other members of our society.
It was here, at ICS, where she ‘buddied up’ pelvic health specialists from around the world and made a stamp of her own as she was the first physiotherapist on the ICS Board of Trustees, and she contributed to workshops and terminology papers. Since she first attended an ICS meeting in 1985, she attended annually, and she continued to do so despite retirement. The last time we have the pleasure of her company was in 2019 in Sweden.
Jo was adamant that there was life outside work and per se, she was an avid sailor, table-tennis player, choir singer and loved to listen to Andre Rieu. She also had her dog-walking community and above all, her friends and family, her sons Philip and Christopher, her grandchildren and her sister Jane who will miss her dearly.
Through the many students and colleagues she taught and mentored and her pioneering and inspirational work, her legacy will live on. We shall miss you very much Jo! Our thoughts are with her family.