Letters - 19 March 2014

Get involved now by sending your contributions by email to talkback@csp.org.uk or write to Letters, Frontline, 14 Bedford Row London WC1R 4ED.  Letters should be no more than 250 words and Frontline reserves the right to edit your letters. Please ensure you include your name, address and a daytime telephone number.

Parity agenda

I was delighted to read Brendon Stubbs’ In perspective column in the last edition of Frontline.

While it rightly focused on the scandal of premature mortality for people with mental illness, his is only one of a number of disparities which the current emphasis on parity of esteem is hoping to reverse.  

There are disparities in terms of access and waiting times to services and many people in the midst of a mental health crisis find themselves not being managed in appropriately safe environments.

The other side of the parity story relates to the impact of mental health problems and illnesses on people with primarily ‘physical’ health problems – whether this is someone who has recently experienced an accident or other physical trauma, or someone living with a long-term condition.

This will come as no surprise to physiotherapists working with people to enable them to regain or retain their previous functioning abilities.

The impacts go further than lack of motivation and impact on an individual’s ability to comply with drug and other recommended treatments leading to worse long-term health outcomes for people.

Clinical commissioning groups are currently preparing two- and five-year operational and strategic plans. I would encourage physiotherapists to read this guidance as it provides an insight into the types of services commissioners will be looking to commission in the future.

Parity of esteem is of relevance to everyone – wherever you work – and I would urge everyone to start to think what it might mean for them at both a service and an individual practitioner level.Joanna Powell, domain team lead, Parity of Esteem Programme: valuing mental and physical health equally, NHS England

Right on time

According to a recent bulletin in Pulse, there is a 15 per cent drop in GP training applications and this is set to exacerbate a GP recruitment crisis.

It is considered that up to 30 per cent of GP referrals are musculoskeletal (MSK) and, in my opinion, physiotherapists are better placed to assess and treat these patients.

I would like to see the CSP engage with the health secretary to promote the professional and economical case for physiotherapists to be the first point of contact in primary care.

This would help relieve GPs of some of their caseload and allow patients to see the right person, at the right place at the right time.Gary Martin, Exercise Prescriber Limited

Steve Tolan, unit head, practice and development, CSP , responds:The CSP is working to influence and collaborate with a range of decision makers both nationally and locally across all four UK countries to promote physiotherapists as first point of contact in primary care. This not only relates to MSK but also continence and certain long-term conditions.


I am the vice-chair of the Rehabilitation in HIV Association (RHIVA) and a specialist physiotherapist in HIV rehabilitation at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

I would like to highlight the role that RHIVA plays in supporting rehabilitation professionals working in both HIV specialist and non-specialist settings.

In addition, it champions the rehabilitation agenda at a local and national level and supports research into HIV rehabilitation.

Interested physiotherapists and other rehabilitation professionals can learn more about rehabilitation in the context of HIV at the 2nd International Forum on HIV Rehabilitation Research.

This will be held on 11 October at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London.  Detailed information on this event will be available shortly on the following website: http://cuhrrc.hivandrehab.ca
Darren Brown, specialist physiotherapist

You’ve ADDed...

Our cover feature in the last issue of Frontline prompted Gillian Wise to make the following comment:
Congratulations ABM team for winning this award, raising the Gold Standard and promoting awareness of this lesser -served condition. I am most interested and most grateful from professional and personal viewpoints.

In response to the news item on the fund-raising journey TV presenter Davina McCall made from Edinburgh to London, Jade Berry commented: Well done Davina!! What an achievement. I’m glad physiotherapy was there to support you!

Commenting on a news report titled ‘Review finds physio-led community service in Lancashire saves nearly £250,000 a year and outperforms best practice benchmarks’, clgrm made the following comment:
This is a great item on how physios can save trusts money and raise their profile.

Patricia Roche left a message in response to the news item on the death of pain pioneer Louis Gifford:
It is with real sadness that I read of Louis’s death. While many may know him best through the Topical Issues in Pain series (for which he worked tirelessly and exhaustively), I was privileged to meet him for the first time at the `Moving in on Pain’ conference, in Adelaide, Australia, in 1995.

That was the first international multidisciplinary gathering organised by physiotherapists which exclusively addressed issues of pain. As well as presenting his well-researched and elegant paper on nociception in disc injury, Louis compèred various sessions with a grace and humour which I found inspirational.

His influence encouraged me to develop the IASP Special Interest Group on ‘Pain and Movement’ and to `Moving in on Pain’ a three-day scientific symposium for research physical therapists in Brisbane, Australia. I can only say ‘thank you’ to a greatly admired colleague and wish his family and friends my sincere condolences at this sad time


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