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Loss of specialist posts could damage patient care, warn physiotherapists

CSP press release published on 3 March 2014

Physiotherapy treatment for patients with complex needs ranging from learning disabilities to long-term conditions like MS could be threatened by cuts to expert posts, the NHS is being warned.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is concerned that a reduction in the number of senior grade roles means the experience and knowledge of those clinicians will be lost to patients.

There was an almost nine per cent reduction in band 7 and 8 posts between 2008 and 2013, and new statistics expected this month could show further cuts.

Physiotherapists in these roles have developed their skills in specific fields to deliver specialist treatment for patients and provide clinical leadership to colleagues.

Speaking as hundreds of physiotherapy staff meet in Cardiff for the CSP’s Annual Representatives’ Conference, the society’s chief executive, Prof Karen Middleton, said:

 “The evidence shows that clinical leadership improves patient care and safety so these posts are critically important.

“We understand the NHS is facing enormous financial pressures, but specialist services save money by preventing conditions from worsening and requiring more expensive treatment.

“The leadership and expertise of these physiotherapists has a positive impact on the quality of life for many patients and we strongly urge trusts to recognise the value of this by retaining senior posts.”

The CSP worked with its members locally to defeat two recent attempts to ‘downgrade’ specialist posts at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Both proposals were withdrawn after physiotherapy staff demonstrated the benefits of the posts for patients and NHS finances.

The overall number of physiotherapists working in the NHS continues to rise, however, with more than 18,000 now providing treatment.

For further media information about the CSP 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, Jon Ryan, senior media adviser, on 07917 091200 or Laura Boyd, PR and social media officer, on 07766 994141.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the UK’s professional, educational and trade union body. We have more than 52,000 members, including chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers.
  2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy's Annual Representative Conference (ARC), 3-4 March 2014, Cardiff, provides an opportunity for representatives of the Society's different professional and union networks to debate a broad range of issues affecting physiotherapists, physiotherapy support workers, physiotherapy students and educators.

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