Physiotherapy UK conference

It's nearly time for PTUK 2017. Joyce Williams takes us through her first conference, 37 years ago.

by Joyce Williams

UK 2017 conference time! And here is my special congress memento. A 37-year old coffee mug (left) from the 1980 CSP Congress held sumptuously in Edinburgh University. Is it a collector’s item now?

No sale though, because for me it is very special.

1980 was the year when the profession really came to life. We were out from under the clinical control of the medical profession. The CSP had its third chair who was a physiotherapist, not a doctor. Physiotherapy services were now being run by district physiotherapists. We were seen as senior managers with freedom to provide the best service we could. It was a great time. We could start developing GP and community services. In my patch, Doncaster, we were experimenting with direct access and seven-day services. My colleague in Rotherham introduced acupuncture. Everything was opening up.

Degree courses were evolving and, most important, the research for evidence based practice was now on its way. We were maturing as a clinical profession and managers were starting to tackle measures of efficiency, costing and caseloads.

I was at the 1980 Edinburgh Congress as Vice Chair and was as a result at the top table. It was such a joyous moment looking at that sea of happy diners and realising that we had made it. Autonomy!
Then I started to giggle. Really! Because a moment before I had been having a heated discussion with my two dining companions, Lady Masham, our President, and the Provost of Edinburgh. Looking down across the hall I realised that all those people could well have seen it. I am sure it looked serious, such high powered people etc.

If anyone reading this was there, the subject we were debating was the relative merits of Black Pudding and Haggis!

But the Congress had a less than joyous side. My husband was with me. Very bravely with me. Only 4 weeks before he had had a major bowel op. and colostomy. You guessed, terminal cancer. But he was determined to be there. His name might just ring a bell. Robert Williams. Yes, the International Memorial Prize which is being presented again at this year’s Conference Award Dinner. It was in remembrance of his years on the Council of the World Confederation of Physiotherapy, and latterly as World Vice President. Though some of you might remember him as Principal of Sheffield School of Physiotherapy or even met him as an Examiner when the CSP ran its own practical exams!

Now, 37 years later I am again coming to “Congress”. Delighted to be speaking about ‘Autonomy”, and looking to the future. But most of all, to be again at the CSP Congress Dinner and hear about the amazing research the winners of the Robert Williams prize have done.

PS There was a happy ending.
Some of you may remember Moira Banks Lecturer at Glasgow and Neuro specialist. She was my friend and one of the Edinburgh Congress organisers.

Sadly, she died in 2000, but to our mutual and delighted surprise, her husband, David, and I found we had enough in common to decide to marry. And guess what, there in his china cupboard in Glasgow was a second mug. We have a pair!

Grandma Williams blog

Visit the ;Grandma Williams Wordpress blog to catch up on other posts from Joyce. You can also follow her on Twitter: @JoyceWilliams_

More posts by this author

Number of subscribers: 0

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added