The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

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Warning on training cuts

Cutting the number of physiotherapy training places would have a detrimental effect on the future of the NHS physiotherapist workforce, says a new report published last month.

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence report highlighted a significant drop in the number of physiotherapy training places commissioned in the UK between 2005 and 2010.  Places in England alone dropped by 30 per cent since 2005. In contrast, there was continued demand for physiotherapists in the NHS. Demand was mainly driven by an ageing population, the shift towards care closer to home and increased patient choice, the document says. And there was robust evidence that physiotherapy worked for patient benefit, and also brought economic advantages. For example, early intervention in musculoskeletal treatment could help reduce the amount of time people were off sick. And support offered to stroke survivors provided cost-effective care at home and in the community. The report states: ‘If current numbers (of training places) are maintained, demand and supply of physiotherapists are projected to remain broadly in balance. As such the likely future demand for physiotherapy services needs to be strongly considered in commissioning decisions.’

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