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NHS restructuring damaging patient care, say physiotherapy staff

CSP press release published on 11 September 2013

Six in ten physiotherapy staff working in the NHS say restructuring services for financial reasons is damaging patient care, a new survey reveals.

Some 88 per cent also believe it is having a negative effect on their professional standards, according to the poll by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), which received 3,082 responses.

The survey reveals the impact of the cash crisis in the NHS, with 29 per cent saying their trust is cutting services in response to the drive to make savings.

The CSP fears patients will miss out on essential treatment as a result and would like to see improvements to the commissioning of services that reduce hospital admissions and save money in the long-term.

The CSP is calling for:

  • More services aimed at the treatment and management of long-term conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Self-referral to physiotherapy services to be made more widely available, to remove the need for a GP visit
  • Faster access to occupational health services, such as physiotherapy, to help people stay in work, or return to their jobs as quickly as possible
  • The rollout of falls prevention programmes that help keep older people out of hospital.

CSP chief executive Phil Gray said:

“This survey paints a worrying picture of how many trusts are not planning ahead for the challenge of funding healthcare in the future.

“Simply cutting services means conditions that could have been treated quickly and effectively become chronic, long-term problems that will require more expensive treatment or care.

“Commissioners are under enormous pressure but they must look at the bigger picture to protect patient care.

“Greater investment in community services will keep people healthy, out of hospital and living independently at home.”

The survey results are released as the Trades Union Congress meets in Bournemouth, where the CSP is proposing a motion that calls on unions to campaign for “more investment in prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation as a key part of meeting future healthcare needs”.

More details about these services, with case study examples showing the savings made by existing NHS schemes, can be found at the CSP website.

For further information please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111, email pressoffice@csp.org.uk. Out of hours please call Becca Bryant, head of press and PR (job-share) on 079172 40819, Jennie Edmondson, head of press and PR (job share) on 07786 332197, or Jon Ryan, senior media adviser on 07917 091200.

**ENDS**

Notes to editors

  1. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the UK’s professional, educational and trade union body. We have more than 51,000 members, including chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers.

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