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It's your call: how members help shape CSP policies

Rachel Newton gives some insights into how members help to shape the CSP’s policies – in this case, primary care.

In April 440 members from across the UK volunteered to tell the CSP what they thought about the big health policy questions. CSP members are leading the way in redesigning primary care – for example, working with trusts and boards and GPs to locate experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapists alongside GPs.  They are showing that this saves time and money, while also delivering a far better service for patients. 

The results of the CSP policy survey showed that this is just common sense for members. 87 per cent agree  most of these strongly so – that physiotherapists should be in GP surgeries, and 90 per cent agreeing that this should be directly accessible to patients, without needing to see a GP first. 

Integration of health and social care has been talked about for decades by successive governments. Recently this shifted up a gear, with new local integrated health and care decision-making structures coming into being. 

The policy survey shows that most (90%) of CSP members agree that better quality services for patients could be achieved through better integration. 

It also showed a high awareness of what needs tackling for this to become a reality. The top two barriers to integration cited by members are insufficient joint planning and a lack of integrated IT systems (85% agreed with both these statements, the majority strongly), followed by lack of investment (75% agreed). Other barriers were not having pooled budgets (59%), health and social care staff not being located in the same place (62%) and the social care workforce on the whole having poorer terms and conditions (48%). 

This insight is a crucial contribution that members can make to local implementation of integration policies and to help shape CSP national policy response. 

The reality for many members, is a daily struggle to provide the quality services that they want to for patients. Almost all respondents (94%) agreed that more investment was required to ensure quality care in the health service now.  Three in four (74%) agreed – most strongly agreed – that patient care is suffering as a result of services being over-stretched. 

Most (89%) said this was because there were too few posts, while 84% pointed to rising patient demand and 59% said problems were caused by difficulties in recruiting to posts.  

Most members agreed (72%) that they receive insufficient time for professional development and learning. The policy survey demonstrates that, although most members currently don’t work in primary care or in integrated teams, they support the changes taking place and see the potential benefits. 

The responses also highlight the continued need for greater investment in services and in the development and expansion of the workforce – both current and of the future. Without this the potential for physiotherapy to be at the heart of redesigned services will be hampered. 

  • Rachel Newton is head of policy, CSP.  

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