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1 in 10 people admitted to hospital in England with conditions needing physiotherapy treatment

CSP press release published on 24 May 2007

Concerns for patient care grow as NHS physio budgets feel the pain

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is calling on the Government and health service chiefs to regain the trust of its members and recognise the contribution they make to patient care, after a new survey indicated that many physiotherapy teams are expected to deliver greater savings than the efficiency improvements required of the NHS in general. The findings are of particular concern to the CSP because of the impact on patients. The latest set of Hospital Episode Statistics (published by the Department of Health, (see table below and note 3), shows a high level of demand for physiotherapy services. While one in ten people admitted to hospital have conditions for which they are likely to need physio treatment, all the signs suggest budget cuts have left many physiotherapy services without the resources they need to ensure patients receive the best care. CSP Chief Executive Phil Gray said:

'It's absurd that physiotherapy services are being hit so hard when patient demand is so high. 'Physiotherapists have embraced key Government health targets, such as reducing patients' stays in hospital, delivering care closer to home and have a crucial role in meeting Labour's 18 week patient pathway commitment. But it's clear that they are now being overstretched in this challenging financial climate.'

The CSP spoke to senior physiotherapy staff in more than a third of NHS organisations:

  • Over half said physiotherapy waiting times are set to lengthen in the coming year, while a fifth said patients are staying in hospital longer
  • 85 per cent said they have been asked, or expect to be asked, to cut their budget in 2007/8. 62 per cent of this group said they'd been asked to make savings of more than 3 per cent, more than the 2.5 per cent required reduction in the wider NHS (see note 5)
  • Over two thirds said inadequate staffing levels are obstructing service modernisation
  • Over half said there was no allocated training budget for physiotherapy staff. 80 per cent said the training budget for physio staff was inadequate.

A separate survey of graduate physiotherapists (see note 4) showed that hundreds of those who qualified in 2006 are still without their first permanent NHS job, despite clear demand for their services. On this issue Phil Gray said:

'Hundreds of unemployed physiotherapy graduates, trained at great cost to the taxpayer, remain frozen out of the NHS. They ought to be treating patients. The NHS Social Partnership Forum's new action plan for healthcare graduates contains some solutions to this problem and we have seen some improvement. But with high levels of patient demand, the NHS must move to implement these measures quickly before it loses a wealth of physiotherapy talent to other industry.' Hospital admissions for bone injuries and musculoskeletal diseases in England by region

Hospital Episode Statistics, Health and Social Care Information Centre - 2005/06 Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, Information Centre

region rank total admissions Admissions for diseases of the Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue and bone admissions % South East 1 1,834,736 220,220 12.0 South West 2 1,307,231 150,266 11.5 West Midlands 3 1,365,046 154,474 11.3 North West 4 1,835,807 209,013 11.4 East Midlands 5 1,116,157 118,437 10.6 Eastern 6 1,289,077 138,239 10.7 North East 7 749,099 78,351 10.5 Yorkshire and the Humber 8 1,380,240 137,471 10.0 London 9 1,723,713 159,883 9.3

  Ends

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 6628. Out of hours please call Jennie Edmondson on 07786 332 197 or Becky Darke on 07900 160 349.
  2. The CSP is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 48,000 chartered physiotherapists, students and assistants. For more press releases visit www.csp.org.uk
  3. Notes on data source The CSP has combined official data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the number of hospital admissions for bone injuries with official data on the number of admissions for diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. Bone admissions comprise the following:
    • Injuries to the head
    • Injuries to the neck
    • Injuries to the thorax
    • Injuries to the abdomen, lower back, lumbar spine and pelvis
    • Injuries to the shoulder, wrist, arm and hand
    • Injuries to the hip and thigh
    • Injuries to the knee, lower leg, ankle and foot

    Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue comprise the following:

    • Arthropathies - includes arthritic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
    • Systemic connective tissue disorders
    • Dorsopathies - the collective name for conditions affecting the spine, such as disc problems, ankylosing spondylitis and osteochondritis
    • Soft tissue disorders
    • Osteopathies - include conditions that affect the bones, like osteoarthritis
    • Chondropathies - conditions that affect the cartilage
    • Other disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue

    More information about the statistics and full tables can be found on the Department of Health website: www.dh.gov.uk

  4. Notes on CSP surveys Survey of qualified physiotherapy workforce The CSP sent surveys to senior physiotherapy staff at 311 NHS organisations. Responses were received from 109 organisations. For more info, call the CSP press office on the numbers above. Survey of physiotherapy graduates who qualified in 2006 In April, the CSP sent a survey to a sample of 1200 graduates from across the UK who had not told us that they had found a permanent job. 1000 of the sample were from England. 341 out of a total of 478 graduates from England who replied are still seeking their first permanent NHS junior job, or are on a short-term contract (71 per cent). 47 per cent are actually still without a job. Around 2400 students graduated in physiotherapy in 2006. Around 1900 of these graduates qualified in England. In 2007, 2678 UK physiotherapy students are expected to graduate from university.
  5. Ref NHS in England: the operating framework for 2007/8 published in 2006 by the DH

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