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In the hot seat

What makes hard-pressed physios give up their valuable time to sit on Council?

Council members come from disparate backgrounds and some travel from far afield to serve the Society and keep it functioning effectively.

Tina Caldeira flies regularly from Jersey to fulfil her role, which she sees as representing the ordinary member, the ‘average physio’.

A senior 1 working in paediatrics she has been on Council for eight years and sits on the preliminary committee, a sub committee of the regulatory board which reviews membership applications.

She says: ‘I think there’s always a benefit in having people on Council who do the general physio job. Sometimes we get caught up with all the specialist areas of physio and the special interest groups and forget that most physios are just doing regular jobs, day in and day out. They’re the people I want to represent’.

Ms Caldeira is currently involved in CSP work to improve member representation in England and replace the existing board structure, which, she says ‘isn’t working’.

Although her own board, south east central, may not be very active, her island branch seems to be thriving.

‘There’s a real need for people to get together here, because you can’t just go down the road and meet up with peers elsewhere’.

Ms Caldeira has lived on Jersey for 14 years and works at the general hospital.

‘It’s a challenge to make sure I get to ARC, Congress and other events, but I use whatever opportunity I have to listen to the members, to hear what they want and what’s important to them.

‘Only once have I had to come back because the weather in Jersey was too bad for the plane to land and I found myself back in Gatwick’.

She says she enjoys great support both from her manager, ‘who knows the benefits of being involved with the CSP,’ and her partner who cares for their three children when she has to be away overnight.

Although leaving such a ‘beautiful island’ at any time can be a wrench, she stresses how important her CSP role is. ‘I would urge anyone who isn’t happy with the services they receive or if they think things should be done differently to get involved.’

ANN GREEN

Ann Green may be a relative newcomer to Council but has been involved with the CSP for 25 years, notably as vice chair, then chair of the learning and development committee.

Ms Green, who is associate head of physiotherapy and dietetics at Coventry University, says she stood for Council last year to be fully part of the decision-making process.

‘For some time there was a feeling that the importance of research had grown within the physio community but wasn’t represented adequately at Council.

‘There is now a proposal for one over-arching committee for education, research and professional practice so it will put all those three things on an equal footing. That’s really important and something I’ve been able to contribute to achieving’. 

To work effectively on Council, Ms Green says, ‘you have to bring people on board and listen to different parties’.  Another key element is ‘to recognise that you represent a constituency and a membership’.

She continues: ‘Your personal view is something that drives you to bring about change but you have to bring about change in the interest of your members’.  

Ms Green spends on average about one day a week on CSP matters, including attending meetings, travelling and taking part in teleconferences.

Of the time commitment, she comments:  ‘I think if it didn’t dovetail with the objectives of my organisation it would be difficult, but my colleagues and head of department give me the support and flexibility to ensure I can do both roles’.

So far, she has been impressed with the level of debate on Council, has come to understand the CSP better, how ‘professionally’ it is run and how policy work is led.

Ms Green also serves on the CSP Charitable Trust and, as a member of the Congress management committee, is developing the scientific programme for next year’s event.

She believes the programme will be ‘cutting edge’ and ‘fun’ and hopes delegates can ‘embrace Liverpool’.

She says she would encourage others to take the plunge and stand for election to Council so they too can ‘really start to change things’.

MARGARET REVIE

Margaret Revie was already involved in Physio First when she decided to stand for election ‘to put the private practitioner’s point of view for whatever Council was planning or debating’.

She believed at the time these matters didn’t quite get the airing they merited.

‘I felt that by being there and strongly representing private practitioners the balance could be corrected – and I would say that’s what has happened. There’s a better balance now between the NHS and the independent sector focus’.

Ms Revie, who has been on Council for six years, has a private practice in Scotland.

She chairs the professional practice committee, sits on the professional conduct committee and is also a member of the Scottish board.

‘As chair of PPC I get asked to be in different groups and give talks so I end up with loads of meetings that are outside the CSP calendar’.

She says it helps, in managing her time, that she’s her own boss. ‘I’ve managed to balance it out to keep my practice up to the level I need it to be at to support my income and still manage to do what I do for the CSP’.

For CSP meetings, she flies regularly from Glasgow airport, because it’s her most cost-effective option and uses the time to read documents and agenda papers.

‘I go back over them to make sure I’m very clear about the points I need to be bringing to whatever meeting it is. And on the way back, that’s when I chill out’.

Ms Revie does not want such a busy schedule to put Scottish physios off from getting involved with Council because, she emphasises, ‘it’s a very rewarding thing to do.

‘In this day and age of changing government agendas ...we must work to maintain our professional body and our professional identity. Therefore we need people to do the work. So my message is support your professional body if you still want to have a profession.’

SUE ENGLAND

Sue England, who has a private practice in Stratford-upon-Avon, has also been keen to ensure a hearing on Council for the ‘non-NHS’ perspective.

She explains: ‘What happens in the outside world today usually impacts on the health service a few months or a year or two down the line’. 

A Council member for three years, she is also CSP treasurer and sits on the assistants’ board.  ‘The treasurer’s job is allocated two half days a month, but it’s probably at least two days.

Up until October I worked out that between the three areas of my representation I’d done 49 week days since becoming treasurer’.

For the treasurer role, Ms England had an induction with each of the CSP directors ‘so I understand how they run the departments’.

‘I certainly learned that as an employer we are very good to work for.’   She says the CSP has spent the last six months reviewing how it can do things more efficiently, ‘working on cost-savings in different ways’.

She is currently involved in efforts to improve the way the Society communicates with members, and predicts developments will build on the success of interactiveCSP.

‘I think members can look forward to seeing changes in technology that should make life easier for them and make the CSP more accessible and also be as cost effective as they can be’.

Ms England says she hopes other members aren’t daunted about the prospect of serving on Council or making a contribution in other ways.

‘People can get involved in all sorts of different levels. If you can give up three or four days there are lots of different aspects of the profession that would be very grateful for that time and your commitment and passion’.

She continues: ‘My message is that ordinary people make a difference. It’s such a wonderful profession with such a broad spectrum of potential for employment that it would be a shame not to capitalise on people’s enthusiasm for it.’

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Article Information

Author(s)

Matthew Limb

Issue date

3 December 2008

Volume number

14

Issue number

21

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