Getting the message out

The CSP’s press, policy and practice and development teams joined forces to ensure physiotherapy was well represented in the media coverage when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence launched a new guideline for the treatment of low back pain (see Frontline, 3 June).

Moving swiftly was critical. NICE held a press briefing the day before the publication of the guidance. The CSP got the information to all journalists who had attended the NICE briefing and talked to them about the role of physiotherapy. This resulted in positive coverage for the profession on the day of the launch. The Telegraph and BBC News online both carried the CSP’s quote and physiotherapy was featured in several slots on BBC Breakfast TV. Since the launch, the press team has worked with both Radio 5 Live and the Daily Mail to further highlight the physiotherapy perspective on the NICE guidance. CSP head of press and PR Jennie Edmondson said: ‘We are delighted with the results we achieved – especially the very positive comments made about physiotherapy on BBC Breakfast TV news (see box below), which is watched by millions of people. ‘It was particularly challenging to get the media interested in physiotherapy on this occasion because journalists considered other angles more newsworthy, such as the fact that the guideline would enable patients to receive osteopathy on the NHS for the first time.’ Speaking about the role of physiotherapy in treating low back pain, London GP and health columnist Rosemary Lennard said: ‘The report endorses what GPs have known for ages, in that the answer to back pain is not sitting still and taking tablets. It’s actually about moving around and having some form of physical therapy... ‘What we need now is the resources coming right down to the front line. I know that when I refer, as I do, lots and lots of patients with back pain for treatment, there are huge long waits for them to be seen by physiotherapists. Yet I know that if they got physiotherapy within the next few days, they would be up and moving again.

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