CSP’s Impact Report

Welcome to the CSP’s Impact Report

Impact report
Alex MacKenzie (L) Chair of Council and Professor Karen Middleton (R) CBE Chief executive office

With the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to be felt, 2021 was another difficult year for the physiotherapy workforce.

While vaccinations provided both hope and a much-needed effect on the pandemic, the lasting effects began to come into sharper focus, with clarity that they will linger for some time. 

I know from speaking with many members that these effects included an exhausted physio workforce, yet one which across 2021 stepped up, day in, day out, to offer the care and professionalism patients needed. 

Our members in private practice had to develop business resilience to adapt and change in the light of everything that has gone on.

Many went through incredibly lean times last year as they had to change their way of practice and now many are reporting an upsurge in demand, like many physio services, which is equally challenging to meet.

It was a year, too, during which debates around race and equity, diversity and belonging (EDB) continued, both in society at large and within the membership and staff of the CSP. 

In co-production with diversity network members, other members and CSP staff, in 2021 the CSP created its first EDB strategy, building on work which took place in this area in 2020. Much of the work it outlines has already commenced, but there are also actions for each and every one of us too. We owe it to our colleagues and patients to get this right.

In representation on bodies such as Council, the CSP made tangible progress in 2021. Work done in previous years, of encouraging members from marginalised backgrounds to stand for election to the CSP Council, showed dividends. 

This built on the decision, too, to co-opt a member of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic network to Council to ensure better representation prior to establishing the new EDB Committee, enhancing the representation of the diversity of the CSP membership in its governance structures. 

We are developing a new corporate strategy to start in 2023, which will have equity, diversity and belonging at its heart. The strategy sets out the priorities for the CSP – staff and members – to work on; and the choices we make will inform the direction and work of the CSP for several years ahead. 

Finally, my thanks to the Council members who stepped down in 2021. They stayed on an extra year due to the extraordinary circumstances we found ourselves in 2020 and continued to provide the leadership members expected during such a challenging time. Alex MacKenzie Chair of Council 

In many ways 2021 was a more difficult year for the physio workforce than 2020. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, there was an immediate, singular clarity of purpose for many of us. In 2021, the challenges became more numerous and complex: exhaustion, catching up with a backlog of need, restarting services – and these have all taken their toll. 

At the same time, we have all experienced unprecedented changes in the ways that we work. The pandemic forced a step-change in the way physios offer care to patients through digital means, which became more deeply embedded in practice as 2021 went on. 

While welcome – and an acceleration of trends we were already seeing – best practice for working with patients digitally is still being established. 

At the CSP, too, the way that we worked underwent a significant shift. Emergency measures instituted at the beginning of the pandemic to ensure business continuity have transitioned into a new, permanent change in the way we work – as a workforce distributed across the UK and working remotely, coming together to collaborate in our new offices in Furnival Street in central London. 

In many ways this move in late 2021 – from the CSP’s previous offices in Bedford Row, also in central London – was emblematic of the seismic shifts in working culture in the last couple of years. While I know many members and staff held our office there in deep affection, the changes wrought by the pandemic meant the CSP needed a new workspace better suited to in-person team working. This new space will be used for collaboration, bringing staff together to advance our strategic priorities. 

This new way of working was vindicated in 2021 through continuing successes in representing the interests of members, through campaigns ranging from community rehabilitation to First Contact Practitioners (FCPs) to developing the physio workforce, alongside all the other achievements set out in this impact report. 

Similarly, the CSP continued to innovate in ways to engage with our members, which in many ways have increased accessibility through utilising technology. We ran Physiotherapy UK using a virtual platform for the second time in 2021, offering the opportunity for members to hear from 190 speakers wherever their location. 

At the same time, we know that meeting face-to-face with CSP representatives is highly valued by members and a key method of building a sense of community. Our new ways of working have meant that staff are free to meet members where they are, including in workplaces and universities across the country. This is an area of work I know that both staff and members will be keen to see increase significantly as we emerge from the pandemic in 2022. 

Working together, we have achieved much in 2021. As we all adjust to a very different landscape post-pandemic and the challenges that brings, we will continue advocating for physiotherapy and working to represent the interests of you, our members, in overcoming them. Professor Karen Middleton CBE Chief executive office

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