Countdown to new-look Congress

With bookings open, and most of the programme confirmed for this year's CSP Congress, Louise Hunt begins Frontline's previews of the largest event in the CSP calendar

It's all change for CSP Congress this year. There will be a new progamme format,  and a change of scenery, with a new venue at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. For the first time, the conference will be organised into subject strands rather than by clinical interest group, to give greater appeal to everyone across the profession. The strands are musculoskeletal, neurology, cardiorespiratory, and health, work and well-being. Within each strand, talks will be divided into cross-cutting themes – professional issues, research and development, education and clinical practice – to make it easier for delegates to identify which ones they wish to attend. Congress management group chair Jean Heseltine says: 'The key difference this year is the partnership between clinical interest and occupational groups working together to create the four strands with very high calibre speakers of interest to all areas of the profession.' CSP head of business development Steve Mann says: 'The new format will offer a broader appeal. The idea is that a manager in a musculoskeletal service, for example, might wish to go to talks on professional issues in the other subject groups.' Hayley Yates, cardiorespiratory strand lead and clinical specialist physio at Worthing and Southlands Hospitals trust, says she hopes the new format will be more attractive to different types of members. 'We are hoping to see students and newly qualifieds, and people from different specialties who are interested in the cross-cutting themes.' For example, a highlight of the cardiorespiratory strand is a talk by Patrick Doherty, chair of rehabilitation and research at York St John University, on seated exercise. Ms Yates said this should be of interest to many people working in community settings, or with older people and weight management services. Neurology strand lead Siobhan MacCauley, a clinical specialist physio at Belfast City hospital, says the new format is a good opportunity for the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology to work with other groups to incorporate aspects of neurology in other clinical specialties such as paediatrics and oncology.  As a result, she says the programme is 'wider than it would have been'. She adds: 'It is a very packed programme, with lots of variety. There is literally something for everyone at all levels of neurology, and those on the periphery, and it is not often you get that.' Also at the two-day event, the world café, introduced at Congress 2006, will be returning to give delegates an opportunity to debate hot topics in physiotherapy at designated times on both days. Workshop sessions will be held throughout the event, with topics to be confirmed, and this year, for the first time, physiotherapists will have the run of the entire venue, which has capacity for 1,500 delegates.

Early bird offer

CSP members can take advantage of an 'early bird' offer that gives two days for the price of one for those who book before 15 April (see booking form on page 21)

Keynote speakers

This year's expanded line-up includes the following top international speakers: Craig Allingham, assistant professor at Australia's Bond University and former national president of Sports Physiotherapy Australia; Patrick Doherty, chair of rehabilitation and research at York St John University; Anne Shumway-Cook, professor within the division of physical therapy at the University of Washington; and George Peat, research fellow of primary care sciences, Keele University. 'For the first time we have keynote speakers in all areas of the programme from around the world, and this will give delegates a unique opportunity to hear the most recent developments in practice,' says Jean Heseltine, chair of the Congress management group.

CPD opportunity

Continuing professional development has always been one of the major draws for members at Congress, as it is an ideal opportunity for physios to review and discuss new evidence-based practice in their specialisms, present research papers to peers, and keep up to date with the latest resources and developments at the exhibition. And not least to develop informal and formal networks with like-minded colleagues and CSP staff. The Society's CPD adviser, Sarah Fellows, explains why this year's Congress will offer even more breadth for learning. 'Altering the structure of the Congress programme by threading four contextual strands across the clinically focused areas will hopefully encourage members to consider more fully the breadth and wider context of their practice, taking account of not just clinical issues, but also professional, educational and research drivers that impact on physiotherapy locally, nationally and internationally. This can only serve to enhance the potential for learning from the annual conference to support CPD,' she says. To get the most out of Congress, she advises members to take time before the event to review their reasons for attending and consider what they want to get out of it. They should also think about how to keep a record of the things seen and heard and whether the event plays an important role in meeting a personal development plan. While physio managers are still struggling with tight professional development budgets, if there is one event staff should attend this year then Congress is likely to cover the most ground, believes Sandra Mellors, superintendent physio at Tower Hamlets primary care trust. 'Congress gives a really good overview. It's like taking six courses at once,' she says. Commenting on the new format, she believes it will help physios to make the best use of their time. 'By putting talks into sub-strands, such as professional issues, it is a clearer way of signposting and there is less chance that you would go to something irrelevant.'
Louise Hunt

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