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ARC - Warning over lone working on the pitch

Newly qualified graduates are working for sports teams with little or no senior support, supervision or professional development, Conference heard.

And it called on the CSP to produce a briefing paper warning new graduates of the risks involved in unsupervised working on sports fields.

Hannah Slack, from London South stewards and safety representatives, warned that many young physios, keen to gain experience of sports physiotherapy, were putting themselves at risk through lone working.

‘As autonomous professionals we are responsible for all our clinical decisions all the time,’ she said. ‘Do you really think that with a serious head or neck injury, surrounded by players and coaches, we would have the clinical confidence as a new graduate to make those big decisions?’

Margaret Revie, chair of the CSP professional practice committee, warned that many sports teams, and the football world in particular, seemed to want to employ physios ‘on the cheap’. ‘As a professional organisation we have to make sure that does not happen,’ she said. ‘We are autonomous practitioners within our scope of practice, and everyone needs to remember what their scope of practice is.’

Mark Harrison, from North West stewards and safety representatives, speaking for the motion, said he worked as physio for a rugby club for many years. ‘It is amazing how much people look to you on the field of play when something serious happens’, he said. ‘People need to be aware of the massive, massive, responsibility you have in those situations.’

Joe Shippam, a student at the University of Huddersfield, opposing the motion, said many students would have completed first aid courses and other training to help them work alone with sports teams. ‘We qualify at band 5 and sell ourselves as autonomous, so are we, or are we not?’ he asked. ‘If not, then maybe our university education needs changing to make us able to work autonomously when we graduate.’

Motion 27 was carried on the conference floor (and also on iCSP)

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