Elections 2016: Give candidates a doorstep challenge

With elections just a couple of months away, find out how you can put political candidates on the spot, says Philippa Ford.


Want to do the doorstep challenge? Download your leaflet below

The NHS and social care will be battlegrounds for debate in the run up to the elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly. Health and care will also be hot topics in local council and London Assembly elections in England. 
Physiotherapy has a crucial role to play in health and care as it develops to meet modern needs. It keeps people out of hospital. It minimises disability through rehabilitation. It maximises mobility and supports better public health. 
Elections are an ideal time for CSP members to make the case for physiotherapy to the people who wish to represent you politically. As a CSP member, you can play an active part in promoting your profession and finding out what prospective candidates from the different political parties think about issues that are important to the profession.
The CSP has created a ‘doorstep challenge’ to help you quiz the unsuspecting candidates when they come knocking on your door. Why not keep the pull-out Doorstep Challenge to be ready for when they call?  Here are the key questions you could ask:

1. Do you back patient access to physiotherapy in GP surgeries? 

Background: Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions cause up to 30 per cent of a GP’s caseload, rising to 50 per cent for patients aged over 75. An expansion of physiotherapy within primary care provides an immediate solution to GP shortages and can meet growing population need. 
In some GP surgeries, patients can now see a ‘practice physiotherapist’ for primary assessment – improving patient care and saving money. A recent ComRes poll found that four out of five British adults supported the initiative that physiotherapy should be available in all GP practices so people can see a ‘practice physiotherapist’ when they need to. 
The CSP believes this is a model of care that could be applied across the UK.

2. Will you support more rehab in the community?

Background: People are left with unnecessary impairments to their health and wellbeing because there are insufficient rehabilitation services available when they leave hospital. For example, 50 per cent of people who have a hip fracture are left with a permanent disability – which for many people would be avoided by sufficient out-of-hospital rehab. 

3. What will you do to tackle the shortage of physios?

Background: There is a growing shortage of physiotherapists, creating difficulties in recruiting staff to posts. Essentially there are not enough physiotherapy training places to produce the number needed. The CSP’s workforce modelling tool calculates that at least 500 additional physiotherapists are needed every year up to 2020.  What’s more, workforce planning across health and social care must be reformed so it plans for the long term and looks at the whole picture. Check out the CSP workforce data modelling tool.

So, there’s the doorstep challenge. 

Of course, there are lots of other areas of physiotherapy that you can talk to candidates about. You can draw on your own experience and expertise to make an impact on the politicians of tomorrow who just might be representing you! fl 

Take your chance to canvas the canvassers

All CSP members have the opportunity to engage with candidates for the elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the local elections in England.

This is your chance to see if candidates understand the value of physiotherapy and will support action to ensure the public can receive the physiotherapy services they need, when they need them.
Keep this pull-out doorstep challenge as a reminder when candidates seek your vote.
You may be able to question canvassers at your door. You may also get a chance to ask them at hustings or other election activity in your area.
Wherever you can, use the opportunity to promote the message that physiotherapy works and can offer solutions.
Whoever wins the elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the local elections in England, make sure you’ve played a part to ensure your representatives understand the value of physiotherapy and physiotherapy staff to patients.
Please let the CSP know if you have used your ‘doorstep challenge’. Contact frontline@csp.org.uk

Methodology information

ComRes interviewed 2,191 British adults online from 14-18 October 2015. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of all British adults aged 18-plus. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
Philippa Ford

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