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CSP restructure to give members better service

The start of the year saw a new CSP function come into being. Graham Clews explains how members will benefit from the reorganisation of services

CSP members can expect their Society to support them more effectively in their practice, while fighting the profession's corner more robustly, following a complete overhaul of the Society's professional functions.

The Society's expertise in research, education, information provision, and practice support has been brought together to form the new practice and development function, which began work last month.

The aim is to prepare members better for the potentially far-reaching developments that will see much greater emphasis on hard evidence and commercial awareness in the provision of healthcare. It will also prepare members for a more hands-off approach in the relationship with service users and patients, promoting personal responsibility and enabling them to live with their condition.

The new function's dual remit is to 'provide the tools and services to lead and support members in their physiotherapy practice and development', and to 'work with members to advocate for, and promote the value of, physiotherapy to stakeholders'.

It will be split into four units: professional development, professional policy and information, research and development, and practice development.

However, director of practice and development Jill Higgins, who leads the function, says the goal is for staff to focus on projects that will cut across the four areas, rather than remaining hidebound within their unit.

The projects tackled by the new function will be chosen to ensure that the CSP and the physiotherapy profession can target influencing activities, rather than respond reactively to policy consultations.

Current areas of work include Lord Darzi's Our NHS, Our Future review; work on commissioning, including following up the CSP's Making the Business Case publication; developing an IT strategy to help members with e-health; workforce redesign; and member engagement and recruitment.

Dr Higgins says the major current 'drivers' from government health policy are to improve evidence from physios' practice, which is what patients, service users and commissioners in the new-look health and well-being services are demanding.

The new function will help physios acheive this, and its role more generally will be to translate government policy for members by highlighting the impact it will have on practice and service delivery.

Dr Higgins says there had previously been frustration that the CSP's structures seemed to inhibit evidence produced by the CSP from working its way through to frontline physiotherapy, and therefore to patient care.

'Take the development of CSP guidelines, for instance,' she says.

'We invested a lot of money in producing guidelines for areas of practice such as the management of osteoporosis, but then an audit found that they were only being followed by a very small number of practitioners.

'The work of the new function is effectively two sides of the same coin, but both will support members in achieving excellence in their practice.'

The new function's practice development unit will be responsible for supporting physios on the ground.

It will provide a professional advice service, promote the value of physiotherapy, and develop a database of good practice examples for CSP members. Work has begun on economic modelling of the physio contribution to health care.

Developing the professional side of the society will require a focus on the long term, with the Darzi review, and even the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the new function's sights.

The Society has also appointed Ann Moore to act as the research lead for the CSP.

Professor Moore, who will work one day a week on secondment from the University of Brighton, insists she does not want to be seen as a 'dictator', instructing researchers where to direct their efforts.

Instead, she intends to take a strategic view of physiotherapy research on behalf of the Society, and help focus the work where it is most needed.

'We will work with external stakeholders to promote research in and around physiotherapy, and I will act as supporter of research and other advisers, within the function,' she says.

Professor Moore has close links with the Research Forum for Allied Health Professions, and she has been involved with the National Physiotherapy Research Network, which is funded by the CSP.

'Physiotherapy is still in its infancy in research terms,' she says.

'But it's time to start to celebrate the research that is being done, as well as highlighting the necessity to target research at the government agenda'.

Dr Higgins says a successful function will mean the CSP becoming more forward thinking, while also providing greater practical help to members in their working lives.

'The CSP has always been member led and now it needs to show leadership,' she says.

As part of the new function, the Society's library services will be upgraded and refocused to put more emphasis to physios' online requirements.

Andrea Peace, the new head of professional policy and information, says: 'This basically entails helping members deal with 21st century requirements for clinical and business information management that underpin the organisation and delivery of modern patient care.'

The new service will cover the roll-out of electronic patient care records, the use of standardised clinical terminology within clinical systems, wider use of telemedicine and its impact on local service redesign, and the development of datasets to demonstrate the value of physiotherapy.

In the short term, the Society's first online library catalogue is due to be launched via the CSP website later this spring, and a postal loans service for members is due to follow.

The professional policy and information unit will also be reviewing the CSP's international strategy to deal with issues arising from EU, World Health Organization and World Confederation for Physical Therapy decisions that affect the education and migration of physiotherapists.

It will also begin a public health project, designed to demonstrate vital work carried out in this area by physiotherapists, as well as helping members redesign public health services in line with government priorities, such as tackling obesity.


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Graham Clews

Issue date

6 February 2008

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