As the details of Congress 2009 are announced, Matthew Limb explains why members just cant afford to miss it.
'If you haven’t been to Congress before, this year’s event is definitely the one to come to,’ advises programme leader Ann Green. ‘I’m very confident the experience will be special – because of the content, the networking and the venue,’ she adds. ‘It’ll be very dynamic and cutting edge.’ Congress 2009 takes place over two days on 16-17 October in Liverpool, last year’s European City of Culture. Ms Green, who is a CSP Council member and also associate head of physiotherapy and dietetics at Coventry University, believes visitors will appreciate the setting. ‘This will be an international scientific programme as well as one that addresses issues about practice, service delivery and continuing professional development. But it’ll also be a great opportunity to network, have fun and enjoy Liverpool,’ she says. Congress this year is built around six themes, two more than last year, adding to what might be regarded as the core or traditional strands of musculoskeletal, neurology, cardiorespiratory, plus health, well-being and work. One new theme is called ‘Preparing for the 2012 Olympics and beyond’ and quadruple Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent is giving this year’s Founders Lecture. Ms Green explains: ‘The Olympics is a platform for us in showcasing the contribution of physiotherapy to health, well-being and exercise. We wanted to get people to start to think about how they might achieve that in practice.’ She says there has been much discussion about the legacy work that will follow the 2012 Games. ‘We’ve introduced that as a theme so that physios can find out how to get involved either at national or local level if they want to,’ Ms Green says. The second new theme focuses on education and leadership, and follows feedback from members who asked for more on these topics. Congress will see presentations from leading clinicians across the world. ‘It’s a chance to see someone who’s really at the cutting edge of their field,’ Ms Green believes. There will also be workshops to discuss clinical and service developments, along with the many possibilities and challenges currently facing the profession. One slot is a ‘day in the life’ session where physios will describe the different career routes they’ve taken as an inspiration to others. CPD OPPORTUNITY Congress is designed to assist members with their CPD and can be included in their CPD evidence portfolios. Sarah Fellows, CPD adviser for the Society, says: ‘Participants will once again have access to a wealth of different learning formats, including research-based lectures and interactive workshop sessions as well as the chance to find out about latest technological developments and advances in the exhibition.’ She continues: ‘Once again, Congress provides all members of the profession with an excellent opportunity to enhance their knowledge of both national and international developments across the breadth of physiotherapy practice – an essential CPD opportunity.’ Jean Heseltine, chair of the Congress management group, says this year’s event offers something for everyone, from associates, new graduates and students, who may choose to ‘pick and mix’ across the specialist areas, to specialist and consultant physiotherapists, who can hear about the latest developments in their specific clinical areas. Education and management are also covered in the wide-ranging programme. Ms Heseltine is keen to emphasise Congress’s heavily clinical content, saying that it is by no means a purely professional event, but in fact offers one of the very few opportunities to hear experts from the broad spectrum of physiotherapy across the world, at one single conference. And she stresses how, as well as learning and enjoying the programme content, visitors can network with colleagues from across the UK and build up contacts. ‘I think we really underestimate the benefit of conversations at social events,’ she explains. THE VENUE Congress is taking place at the BT Convention Centre, part of the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, a £164 million development on the city’s famous King’s Waterfront. The convention centre, which opened last April, has a 1,350-seat auditorium, 18 ‘breakout’ rooms and 7,000 square metres of exhibition space. ACC Liverpool proclaims its green credentials, which include a wind farm, rainwater harvesting on the roof and a design that ensures its CO2 emissions are half that of a conventional building. There is also a dedicated business centre with services such as photocopying, printing, workstations and wi-fi facilities. Ms Green says visitors will be impressed by the location and facilities. The venue was the setting for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in December 2008 and the Liberal Democrats’ Spring Conference. Two hotels and a 1600-space multi-storey car park are also part of the ACC complex, which includes the 11,000 seat Echo Arena for entertainment and sporting events. FURTHER INFORMATION CSP members who book early can take advantage of an ‘early bird’ offer of two days for the price of one. For details of the offer, which is available until 15 April, go to www.cspcongress.co.uk or see booking form on www.cspcongress.co.uk Feedback from Congress 2008 ‘A very stimulating two days. I loved it – I have many ideas I now wish to explore.’ ‘Very glad to have some male-oriented topics – men’s health, heart disease, refeshing content. Thank you!’ ‘Enjoyed it, stimulating, encouraging to hear there is evidence to guide and support within our practice.’ ‘The presentation on rotator cuff repair and injection therapy were both very interesting with cutting-edge research. Interestingly, this evidence contrasted much of what I’ve been taught at university! A really enjoyable and well-organised event. Brilliant presentations.’ ‘This was my first visit to Congress and I was impressed with the quality of speakers, general organisation and catering.’
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