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ARC 2013: The physiotherapy profession must do more to foster diversity

5 March 2013 - 10:42am

The physiotherapy profession should aim to reflect the socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of the wider communities it serves. This was the message of a motion raised by Patricia Smith, a representative of the Black and Minority Ethnic Network.

Dr Smith called on the CSP to consider ways of promoting and influencing outreach programmes that would support the widening participation of students from lower socio-economic groups and BME communities.

Offering as an example the recent withdrawal of Strategic Health Authority commissioned places from the physiotherapy undergraduate programme at the University of East London (UEL) she said:

‘We believe this could potentially reduce opportunities for low income and black and minority ethnic students in one of the most culturally diverse and economically deprived boroughs in the UK.’

The motion was seconded by Yorkshire steward James Phelan who urged the CSP to ‘scrutinise cuts to educational services’.

Lesley Dawson, speaking on behalf of Chartered Physiotherapists in International Health and Development (ADAPT), supported the motion and said: ‘A culturally diverse society deserves and demands a culturally diverse work force.’

The motion was also backed by Ann Green, Head of Biomolecular and Sports Science at Coventry University, who warned that problems of socioeconomic and ethnic diversity in the profession were likely to be compounded by the introduction of fee paying physiotherapy courses.

Conference delegates also heard support for the motion from specialist physiotherapist Doreen Caesar, and East of England stewards Kim Gainsborough and Lee Matthews.

Attendees then voted unanimously to back the motion, which will lead to the society closely monitoring funding cuts to physiotherapy programmes.

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