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In perspective: Busy new year

CSP council chair Sue Rees applauds members who have thrown their weight behind a bid to secure physiotherapy’s future and looks at the  challenges facing the profession in the year ahead.

The start of a new year offers a chance to reflect on the one that’s just passed before we clear away the tinsel and get to grips with the one ahead. As chair of the CSP’s programme board, much of 2014 related to the Physiotherapy Works programme.

It is incredible to think how much has been achieved over the past 12 months. The programme aims to ensure that physiotherapy is recognised as being critical to meeting people’s health and social care needs. We must show that we can take the lead in a new approach, one that turns the treatment of ill health and disease to one of keeping people living longer and living well.

This can be achieved through prevention, early intervention and rehab. In particular, we are focusing on meeting the needs of older people and those with long-term conditions when and where they need it. We all need to engage in the programme’s goals.

To date, there have been seven Physiotherapy Works Locally events. These helped to equip more than 700 members with the tools and the enthusiasm they need. A huge amount of work has also gone into creating these tools.

These include new Physiotherapy works briefings on falls and fragility, and on hip fractures which aim at commissioners and decision-makers. The CSP also contributed a chapter to a British Orthopaedic Association research report on rehabilitation of total knee replacements and of hip fractures.

There has also been an information briefing for older people, titled Talking about your generation, which focuses on keeping active and keeping well. It also gives tips on how to get off the floor if you do fall. The CSP’s falls prevention economic model has demonstrated that physiotherapy is a cost-effective solution.

It uses demographic data to project the current cost of injury through falls. Most importantly, the model identifies the return on investment across the falls pathway of investing in physiotherapy. It also highlights how rates of social care admissions rise if no action is taken.

For England alone, every £1 invested in physiotherapy would release £1.50 that would otherwise be spent on falls. Preventing 200,000 falls in England would save £275 million. This is such a compelling case that within days of the model’s release, three clinical commissioning groups had contacted the CSP to find out more.

This is just the start – the tool is now available for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the case has also been made for what we can offer those managing social care budgets. Why not make supporting physiotherapy your new year’s resolution?

Make a pledge or come along to a Physiotherapy Works Locally event and discover how you can play your part. With 2015 a general election year, if your parliamentary candidate knocks on your door, why not tell them about the difference physio can make?

We need to share how we transform people’s lives, how we build resilience and keep people independent. That’s our challenge for 2015.

Sue Rees is the CSP Chair of Council. Follow Sue on Twitter

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