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Stress alert

Too much to do and not enough rest breaks are leaving more than three-quarters of physiotherapists stressed at work, a CSP survey has found.

The survey was organised by the CSP's national group of regional safety reps, following a motion at this year's Annual Representative Conference which called on the Society to monitor stress levels among members.

Safety reps were asked to survey members in their area of work, and the results show that 37 per cent of physios believe their level of stress is unacceptable, with a quarter of them claiming they have been harmed by their experiences of stress.

The survey is the biggest to look at stress among physiotherapists for 10 years, with the responses from nearly 900 physios collated centrally, and the views of many more members included in responses analysed locally by regional safety reps.

Richard O'Connell, regional safety rep for the West Midlands, welcomed the results of the project. 'My role as a safety rep is to encourage people to talk about it, and the survey will help to get the ball rolling, and hopefully encourage a situation where staff are consulted more by employers,' he said.

The survey found the biggest cause of stress was 'demands of the job', for 92 per cent of physios, which meant long working hours and excessive workloads.

Around half said insufficient time or resources for continuing professional development was causing them stress, while around a third blamed uncertainty about their future or lack of consultation over structural changes. The survey also found a significant number of NHS trusts were not consulting reps when conducting risk assessments of workplace stress.

The NGRSR will use the survey results to help produce advice sheets and briefings, as well as training courses for safety reps and stewards.

The Health and Safety Executive is currently visiting around 200 hospital trusts to assess stress levels among staff.

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