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ARC 2007 - Weekend graduates rejected

A motion calling for the CSP to campaign for trusts to use part-time and weekend contracts to employ newly-qualified physiotherapists, to prevent them losing registration or competency, was rejected.

Proposing the motion, Sara Bolton from the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care said trusts must offer practical solutions to the unemployment crisis or risk losing new members of the profession. 'We need to retain skills and preserve our investment, or risk being deskilled, demoralised and demotivated,' she said. Ms Bolton said she was only able to be at ARC because her daughter was being looked after by 'an unemployed physiotherapy graduate working in a nursery.'

She said part-time and weekend working would lead to a 'better work-life balance for full-time staff who are reporting increased pressure to do weekend work.' It would also improve productivity by decreasing length of stay, she said. Seconding the motion, Jemma Oliver (pictured) from the Student Executive Committee said she was excited about any new way of working that was 'adaptable and flexible for employees and good for patients'.

However, Damon Henry said it seemed 'to have been written by NHS managers as a way of stopping paid overtime.' Juliet Raine added that the motion 'preyed on vulnerable graduates who won't turn down any work offered'. Mike Maynard from the Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists said the thought of a lone worker in an intensive care unit at weekends gave him 'the heebie-jeebies'.

He said: 'It takes six weeks to get new staff ready for a weekend on-call, so would you be doing that for new graduates?' Vickie Kendrick said her colleagues thought the idea 'really scary' and a way of getting seven-day working 'on the cheap'. She said settling for the cheapest people possible would then make it hard to justify the need for specialist clinicians. Alison Taylor said the idea did not encourage managers to provide permanent solutions or to ensure proper training, supervision or skill mix.   Motion 10 failed.

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