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CSP calls for greater focus on therapist recruitment to combat delayed discharge

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

CSP responds to National Audit Office report into the delayed discharge crisis

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is calling for more attention to be paid to the planning of recruitment and retention of physiotherapists and other AHPs following the publication of a National Audit Office report into the delayed discharge crisis affecting UK hospitals.

The report cites the continuing shortage of therapists to carry out needs assessments as the biggest cause of delayed discharge. While the Society is pleased that the report acknowledges the vital roles these professionals play in the rehabilitation process, it says that the Government needs to increase the effort it is putting into delivering the targeted expansion of physiotherapists.

Commenting on the report's findings, CSP chief executive Phil Gray said:

'We have been calling on the Government to look at more effective ways of discharging patients from acute hospitals for some time and have always maintained that the biggest obstacle to resolving the situation is not the shortage of care home places, but the shortage of trained therapists.

'Rather than merely investing in more care home places, greater emphasis should be placed on boosting the number of therapists who can ensure that needs assessments are conducted and that individually tailored packages of intermediate care are delivered, so that older people can continue to live in their own homes.

'Only when we have more therapists providing the bridge between hospital and home and ensuring that older people can maintain their independence for as long as possible will we see an end to the current situation - where older people are waiting for more than a month before being discharged.

'Although we had evidence of a growth in new jobs for physiotherapists in 2001, any additional expansion in 2002 appeared to collapse, with some managers facing three per cent efficiency cuts. This is no way to improve services for patients.'

Ends

Media information

  • The Government has pledged to increase the number of physiotherapists by 59 per cent in England by 2009. Physiotherapy vacancy rates have doubled since 1999 and are among the highest in the NHS.
  • The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 40,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. Physiotherapy is Britain's fourth largest health profession and continues to grow
  • For more information, please contact the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 28. A full archive of CSP press release can be accessed at: www.csp.org.uk/mediagovernment

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