ARC - Fight for the right to decide treatment

Delegates backed a call for the CSP to campaign against increasing threats to professional autonomy and the withdrawal of treatments such as acupuncture from physiotherapy services.

The CSP’s Annual Representative Conference took place in Manchester on February 25-26. ARC is an important debating forum for members and a fundamental strand of the Society’s democratic structure. The event brings together delegates across the UK, representing a wide cross section of the membership. This year around 250 delegates met to debate and vote on more than 50 motions. A month-long discussion on the motions on the primary agenda for debate was also started on interactiveCSP, the Society’s member networking website, before the event. For the fist time this year the results of votes on motions through iCSP were included in the delegate packs to inform debates and decision-making. Motions passed at ARC are later debated by CSP Council and may inform the work of the Society over the coming year, but the motions are not in themselves CSP policy.  Here we begin our coverage of the event, with more reports to come in a future issue. You can also read more reports from the conference on the CSP website, where you will find too a complete list of ARC 2009 motions and the results of the votes. Merian Denning, of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, said the association had 5,300 members, which she saw as evidence of the versatility of the therapy. ‘But increasing numbers of members report their ability to use acupuncture is being curtailed,’ she told Conference. Trusts often cited, incorrectly, lack of evidence as the reason for withdrawing acupuncture. But acupuncture could be delivered simultaneously with other treatments and its withdrawal by trusts showed a lack of responsiveness to patient choice, she said.  Physio First’s Karen Wilcock urged delegates ‘to protect the broad base of our profession, and our clinical autonomy. ‘The contents of the tool box vary according to the therapist,’ she said. Council member Sue England (pictured right), said the motion was relevant for all treatment modalities. ‘I do not want to be dictated to about what treatments I use for my patients,’ she said. Sharon Greensill, chair of the clinical interest groups liaison committee, stressed the value of acupuncture for patients with mental health problems and the importance of the treatment being acceptable to the individual. Motion 28 was carried on the conference floor (and also on iCSP)

Joanna Lyall

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