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Physios honoured in new national CSP awards

The CSP awards 2007 event was held in London last week. Around 150 physiotherapists and guests at a special reception and lunch saw awards and fellowships presented, including the Physio of the Year. Paul Stephenson was there for Frontline

The first CSP physiotherapist of the year award winner Lorraine Clapham professed herself to be 'totally surprised' at her award last week. Although Ms Clapham and her team have won other awards over the years, she described the CSP award as 'an incredible honour'.

However, she was keen to put her achievement in terms of the team she manages. She told Frontline: 'I am the tip of the iceberg. If anybody thinks I am doing my job well, they should see the team behind me.'

The award was the highlight of an afternoon that recognised special talent in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. In addition to the winners of all these categories, the CSP also decided to present a special recognition award for a young physiotherapist who has only been in the profession for six months.

Hollie Smith, a junior physiotherapist at private company RehabWorks in Basildon, Essex, won the award for her outstanding work with clients who have been out of work with health problems for long periods of time.

In presenting the award, CSP Council chair Sarah Bazin said it was for her 'communication skills and the ability to work with patients with disabling conditions'.

Ms Smith said she got the job after a long period without work in her profession, following her graduation last year. She said: 'I went through nine months of not being able to get a job, and applied for about 30-40 jobs.

'I love my job. I never have a bad day and I love my patients. The kind of patients we see have a lot of biopsychosocial problems.'

Distinguished service awards were also presented at the event, as well as previously announced, CSP fellowships (Frontline, 3 October). Winners of a number of additional national and international awards were also recognised, including those from the World Confederation for Physical Therapy and the Robert Williams international awards.

Ms Bazin said the physiotherapist of the year award was to 'celebrate the success of those who have worked so hard'. She added: 'We were hugely impressed by the nominations, particularly from patients and carers. The individuals demonstrated that commitment of going an extra mile. I hope this is the start of many years of the physiotherapist of the year award.'

Presenting the awards, Department of Health national clinical director for primary care David Colin-Thomé spoke of the crucial role of physiotherapy in rehabilitation work.

He said: 'I support the idea that we need hugely more investment in rehab work and the NHS has failed to do that. I hope that in the next few years we see some significant change to that. Rehab is where the investment needs to be.'

Dr Colin-Thomé told Frontline there were great opportunities for the profession in the current NHS review by health minister Lord Ara Darzi.

He said: 'He is saying it is up to local people, in the eight care areas he has identified, to go into the detail of who are the most appropriate clinicians. One of the biggest areas is musculoskeletal problems, and many patients don't need a doctor. It is equally true if you look at the rehabilitation of people with long-term conditions. If you look at stroke, the evidence is that stroke units producing the best outcomes have intensive rehab.'

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