Comment: sting in the tail

Frontline’s editor looks at the changes ahead for higher education funding and physiotherapy training.

It was a classic pre-Christmas move. If you’ve bad news, issue it at a time when most people are thinking of Christmas parties, presents and mince pies.

So, on 23 December, the CSP found out that Health Education England (HEE) planned to cut the number of government-funded physio student places for the 2016-17. They will fall by 104 places – 6.7 per cent – from 1,543 to 1,439.

It came as a body blow. Not only had the society been campaigning for an increase, but it understood that its arguments had been accepted by HEE. The 11th hour turnaround was an unwanted Christmas gift.

It came as members were grappling with the government decision to move physio students on to loans from the 2017-18 intake.

Just a week before the announcement on student numbers, CSP council supported calls for more physio students and for assurances that people from all walks of life would have a chance to join the profession.

One positive thing that could result from loans-funded courses was, council members agreed, was an increase in student numbers.

But the HEE decision suggests there is still some way to go before others understand the value physios bring to healthcare.

It’s vital that every member keeps promoting the value of the profession. Every conversation counts. (And yes, that means you too!)

  • Lynn Eaton, managing editor Frontline and head of CSP member communications
Lynn Eaton managing editor Frontline and head of CSP member communications

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