Editor's comment: a great start to the year

Our first full week of 2019 started positively and encouragingly with the launch of NHS England’s long-term plan

It has been the subject of much discussion. Overall, for the physiotherapy profession and for our patients, there’s a lot in it to like. It’s encouraging to see physiotherapy and rehabilitation highlighted across a range of conditions and in a range of settings. There are commitments to increasing the number of physios in primary care, placing therapists at the beginning of acute pathways, and expanding rehabilitation in a wide range of areas including frailty, stroke, pulmonary and cardiac conditions.

As the plan was being developed, we were among the chorus of voices calling for a major shift towards providing more services in the community, and the resources needed for this. We’ve long campaigned for this and the evidence is clear, so it was fantastic to read about a commitment to developing fully integrated community-based health care, with the development of multi-disciplinary teams that physiotherapists have an integral and explicit role in.   

The plan is 'a significant achievement for the profession in England and for the CSP. But (there’s always a ‘but’) there remain unanswered questions'and challenges – not least whether the requirement for acute trusts to get back into the black by 2023/24 risks undermining the delivery of the plan.

Other unknowns are the exact commitments to invest in the physiotherapy workforce, the glaring omission of support workers in the plan, and questions about social care and public health funding. All of these must be addressed if the plan is to become a successful reality. 


  • Rachel Newton CSP Head of Policy 

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