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International physios unite in Amsterdam

More than 5,000 physiotherapists from over 100 countries gathered in Amsterdam for last week's World Confederation for Physical Therapy congress.

The event was preceded by the 60th general meeting of WCPT. The very first meeting was held in 1951, on 8th September.

This is the origin of World Physical Therapy Day, and I didn’t make the connection until I was sitting in the meeting representing the UK! This year, the CSP marks World Physical Therapy Day with Work out at Work Day on September 8, to help get people active in their daily working lives.

The general meeting is for representatives of WCPT's 101 membership organisations. The top four countries represent 50% of 300,000 physiotherapy members across the globe.

For me, the top four contained some surprises. Try it as a pub quiz question. The country with most members (therefore top) is Japan. Then the USA, UK and Germany.

File 100105Celebrating with International Award winners Olwen Finlay, Ann Moore and Liz Carrington

At the general meeting I put forward a motion on behalf of CSP, around access to the physiotherapy profession for people with a disability.

The resolution called on the WCPT to encourage the access of people with disabilities into practice and to support those who may acquire disabilities in later life.

This is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as supported by WCPT. I explained that the UK had a long history of integrating people with disabilities into the workplace, including those who were blind or partially sighted. The motion was supported and the vote was resoundingly in favour.

The WCPT congress also recognises outstanding achievement at an international level. Three CSP members received awards: Professor Ann Moore (chair of International Scientific Committee), Liz Carrington (formerly International Officer at Bedford Row) and Olwen Finlay, for her contribution to physiotherapy for older people.

File 100106Ann Green and Sarah Chamberlain

The conference itself had a delegation of more than 400 physiotherapists. Many were keynote speakers, members of discussion panels or symposia, platform presenters or having posters displayed.

The conference centre was buzzing with conversation, discussion and healthy debate. It was great to meet Sarah Chamberlain, a band 5 physio from Bournemouth who had a poster accepted. She was visiting WCPT for the first time.

Another highlight was the pain symposium with an inspirational, informative and witty presentation from David Butler of Australia.

David is one of the keynote speakers at this year's CSP Congress, so if you missed him in Amsterdam, join us in Liverpool.

The CSP hosted a reception for UK delegates and our international guests. Here, nine members were recognised with the Robert Williams award, a prize for members who have submitted the best abstracts.

At the reception the CSP stand was very busy, with information about physiotherapy in the UK and our Physiotherapy Works series receiving enthusiastic responses.

The next WCPT Congress, in 4 years time, takes place in Singapore. If you haven't attended, put it on your calendar.

They are very special events that challenge, inspire and give the chance to join in with the global physiotherapy network.

- Ann

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Article Information

Post date:

30 June 2011