Promoting physiotherapy at this year's party conferences

This year’s party conference season is more significant than usual. It may be the last time such gatherings take place across the political spectrum before the next general election which will decide who forms the next government.

by Ishmael Beckford

While we don’t know the exact date we’ll be going to the polls, we do know it must be before January 2025. The electoral clock, therefore, is ticking and it is vital that the CSP seizes this moment to influence and promote the value of physiotherapy. 

Party conferences give us the opportunity to engage with those currently in, and those hoping to be, in power in the years to come. It is for this reason that I and colleagues from the CSP will be attending party conferences across the UK this year.

We know that it is better to be in the room and part of the debate, than watch from the sidelines or have others dictate to us

I will be taking part in The Health and Care Forum fringe event, for example, on Monday, October 9, at the Labour conference. If you’re there, it would be fantastic to see you.

The focus of our message for this season’s conferences is workforce, and the need to ensure that the physio workforce specifically, is nurtured, maintained, and grown. We will be there to make the case for better investment in the physio workforce and the services it delivers.

It is our intention that by being able to engage directly with those involved in the future discussion on the NHS we will be able to affect change. We are there to listen on your behalf, to ensure that as a profession we are informed and engaged in the national conversation. 

We know this direct engagement approach yields results – whether it’s on the long-awaited NHS workforce plan, or the recently-published intermediate care framework and new model for community rehab, which cites the CSP. It sometimes takes years for successes like this to come about, but they’re only possible by keeping up the pressure.

While I understand that much of what happens at party conferences may seem – and in some ways is – a million miles from the frontline day to day realities the physiotherapy workforce is facing, it is our belief that long-term, sustainable change can only happen if we are prepared to make the case for our profession, the people and the positive contribution we make to populations, directly. 

Sometimes being face to face is better than pen on paper.

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