Championing Physiotherapy

During the pandemic, we highlighted how the physiotherapy profession responded to the impacts of Covid-19

External influencing

Using the strength of our existing relationships, alliance memberships and a flexible approach from staff, we expanded our efforts to raise awareness of the vital role of physiotherapy during the pandemic.

  • We provided important evidence on the need for rehabilitation to the Comprehensive Spending Review
  • We submitted key points for inclusion in the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) recommendations on Critical Care – including strong recognition of the importance of the physio workforce, and both acute and community rehab
  • Our work secured a place on the NHS England and NHS. Improvement (NHSEI) working group for the anticipatory care/ageing well programme, so we could influence the long-term planning commitments for people with long term conditions and frailty.

Strengthening the profession’s reputation

We worked to achieve positive coverage of physiotherapy across press, radio, TV and social media platforms, as part of broader objectives to advocate for the profession to the general public, AHPs and other clinicians and key stakeholders.

  • We made repeated calls for the government to act to improve the quality and access to PPE for clinical staff
  • Our work resulted in prominent coverage of critical care physiotherapist Tom Meredith and his team in Southampton on BBC News. We also highlighted the importance of paediatric physiotherapy for children with SEN through BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours
  • We worked with PhysioFirst, the private practice professional network, to influence, share and promote resources for PhysioFirst members and non-members, as well as offering advice on influencing to other organisations
  • On social media, we promoted our online exercise content to help older people stay active at home, which received over 150,000 views on YouTube in two weeks.

Community rehabilitation

We successfully raised the profile of rehabilitation in the national media and established the CSP as an authoritative information source in this area.

  • We produced three Covid-19 physiotherapy standards for acute, palliative care and community rehab, as well as a national snap shot audit – Physiotherapy After Covid-19 Evaluation (PACE)
  • We completed 895 data sets, which included details of the rehab services available, rehab needs and staffing (actual and optimal) and made a data dashboard available to members, so they could interrogate and mine the data collected
  • We also co-developed, with other key stakeholders, the NHS Rightcare community rehabilitation toolkit.

Promoting preventative health

This year we completed work on an ambitious strength messaging project, with partners Sport England and Aging Better. In December 2020, we started developing the leading concept, ‘Stronger My Way’. A steering group of physiotherapists have now begun working with MOVE consulting, specialists in behaviour change, to understand the real world application of the project’s learning. 

Building a thriving physiotherapy community

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19, our membership numbers continued to grow and by the end of 2020 we exceeded 60,000 members for the first time

To help tackle Covid-19, we introduced special membership arrangements for students to allow them to enter the workforce temporarily or early, and also to enable temporary returners and retired members to contribute their skills. We also welcomed a small, but significant, increase in associate membership.

Virtual events

We supported virtual events which helped to link different groups across our membership. These included regional network events for students and events that focused on Black, Asian and minority ethnic member experiences.

In 2020, the CSP’s first-ever virtual annual conference was attended by 1,379 delegates, with 75% of those attending saying that the conference offered good or excellent value for money

For students, 140 members attended a virtual event in the north of England to help them feel reassured about how placements would work in the ‘Covid-19 world’. 

A further 198 members attended another student event in the south of England.

The use of virtual events helped to address a lack of activity in one of the two regions (Yorkshire and the Humber) where we had previously been seeking to reactivate members.

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