Adjusting your attitude

CEO Karen Middleton highlights the importance of changing your mindset so members, staff and patients feel they belong

CSP CEO Karen Middleton
CSP CEO Karen Middleton

My staff and I are deep in operational planning for 2022 in order to advance our Corporate Strategy. 

We have also been finalising the detailed operational work for the Equity, Diversity and Belonging Strategy, which was signed off recently.  

This is being completed in tandem with our financial planning, while we are also working on the development of the next Corporate Strategy to commence in 2023 and ensuring it is informed by you, the members.

This sort of work can sometimes feel drawn out and bureaucratic – especially for those of us who simply want to get on and do the doing! However, it is essential work to ensure we are member-led, on the right track for our priorities, have plans that can be delivered within our resources, and can measure impact. 

One of the aspects of this work that I enjoy is looking at the information we have to inform our choices – a strategy is, in fact, a series of choices in my mind – as it helps us to avoid assumptions.

In our equity, diversity and belonging work, some of the assumptions I made early on was that as members or CSP staff working in and with the physiotherapy profession, we would have disability pretty much covered. 

I was so wrong and I wonder if, because understanding disability is so fundamental to physiotherapy, we actually missed what was in front of us. I assumed we’re okay on that particular protected characteristic.

I have been shocked to see the data from surveys and to listen to members of our DisAbility Network about the lived experience of members working with a disability. So many don’t feel a sense of inclusion, never mind feeling they belong.

And some fellow CSP members are making them feel like this. The same goes for me and my staff with regard to CSP staff with a disability – the findings of our internal work is not very different. 

But we’re better than that, aren’t we? Our new strategy is about enabling all our members and staff to feel they belong and to make adjustments at work to enable them to do that – and that starts with our attitude and our mind-set.

This Frontline marks UK Disability History Month and many will say we’ve come a long way in enabling people with impairments to feel included. But it is such a paradox that we are the first to advocate for our patients who face discrimination because of a disability but find it too difficult to make reasonable adjustments for our disabled colleagues.

I’ve heard that adjustments are viewed as ‘unreasonable’ all too quickly.

How our members feel is critical and I urge you to read this edition and reflect on what you can do to enable your colleagues with a disability – visible or not – to feel like they truly belong. 

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