Democratic rights

This week has seen most of the Frontline team in Manchester at the CSP’s annual representative conference – an event where members have a chance to air their views and opinions.

The place where they tell council what issues they want prioritised in the year ahead.

Not surprisingly, high on the agenda were the proposed changes to the NHS. (I hesitate to call them reforms, as that suggests they would make things better.) There were some 200 representatives of CSP members in the Victorian, tiled room at the Palace Hotel. While delegates don’t individually hold a block vote, unlike some unions’ representatives, all would have sounded out their colleagues to gauge opinion and garner their views. This is a chance for the society’s 50,000 members to shape the face of the CSP. And the message was an overwhelming one – as our reports on the following pages show.

I was interested to meet members, and to quash a few myths. Would this be the young, militant activists? Or would I meet a few small ‘c’ conservative members there too? How strong would the debates be?

I chatted with one physio over dinner who said she had voted Conservative all her life. She recognised the need for savings and, no, she wouldn’t be marching in protest at the cuts. But she was very concerned the changes were happening so fast and were so draconian.

I predict we will see more members, like her, beginning to voice their concerns in the weeks ahead. Physios are proud of their profession. But many would not think of themselves as political, or think about what role they can play to protect the services they provide.

Even if you’re not planning to come to London on 26 March, you can still write to your MP. We’ve made it easy for you: check the ‘NHS reforms’ button on the CSP website for details of what you can do.

As Phil Gray said, now is the time to speak out, not to bury your head in the sand.

Lynn Eaton Managing editor, Frontline,

Lynn Eaton, Managing editor, Frontline,

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