Ishmael Beckford explains why he chose to put himself forward for the role of the CSP Council member co-opted from the BAME network
Racism, prejudice and bigotry still loom large in society and unfortunately in elements of our profession.
On a weekly – sometimes daily – basis I’m reminded of how significant and painfully present an issue this is within physiotherapy. Whether it’s the experiences of overt racism shared by colleagues; the lack of progression opportunities and representation of BAME physiotherapists, particularly in senior positions; or subtle but no less pervasive attitudes some clinicians hold with regard to racially biased outcome expectations for patients from certain ethnic backgrounds.
The main reason I put myself forward was to ensure these issues remain on the agenda, and are challenged and acted upon by the profession’s leadership. This can only be done while being informed by the voice of those most impacted.
There is lots of work to be done to get to being a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession. For me joining Council has given me the opportunity to play a role in trying to make this a reality.
A couple of months into the role it has been eye opening and rewarding. I’ve been well supported by the CSP team and I have access to key decision makers. It’s been great contributing to wider discussions about the profession and organisation, not only focusing on the important equality, diversity, and inclusion issues, but also around finance, operations and strategy.
Being a Council member is not about pushing your own personal agenda. It’s about making often-difficult decisions to ensure the profession remains relevant, buoyant, and impactful at the same time as ensuring the CSP equitably meets the needs of all its members.
Having this responsibility has so far been the most rewarding aspect of joining the Council.
I would encourage anyone considering putting themselves forward at the upcoming elections to be motivated to make a difference. The CSP needs engaged members to challenge, participate and hold it and each other to account.
As we celebrate 100 years of the CSP’s Royal Charter, I am hopeful we will accept and overcome the challenges ahead.
- Ishmael Beckford is the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic network co-opted CSP Council member. He is market director at Vita Health Group
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