Member action: use your power to influence

Robert Millett looks at how CSP members are helping to promote physiotherapy.

This year CSP members across the UK have been taking positive action to influence healthcare decision makers. They have been influencing clinical commissioning groups, regional sustainability and transformation plans, education providers and employers.
With the support of CSP campaigns, such as the W@W! and Older People’s Day campaign resources, many members have successfully made the case for physiotherapy.
So, if you’re wondering if you have the power to influence change and make a difference in your region or country, then the answer is yes.
And to help you get started, members who’ve already successfully influenced key audiences spoke to Frontline to share their experiences and advice. fl  

Enhancing education

In February, the CSP’s London Regional Network took action to increase practice-based learning opportunities for physiotherapy students.
Members hosted an event that highlighted various musculoskeletal placement models, to raise the quality of placements, increase productivity and improve standards.
During the planning stages, the network collaborated with representatives from several higher education institutions (HEIs).
Matthew Wyatt, a CSP council member and a consultant physio at Connect Health, was one of the organisers. ‘Together with the HEIs, we worked out what we wanted to do, targeted specific speakers and put a plan together. Then we invited organisations from all sectors to come to the event, and did some targeted work to make sure that key people were in the room.’
As a result, more than 30 delegates attended the event, including practice educators, clinicians and managers.
‘After the formal presentations we had breakout sessions when the speakers went round all the tables, so people could pick their brains about how they made their models work, and find out how to implement them in their work places,’ Mr Wyatt added.
Outcome: Alison Jones, a senior lecturer at Kingston University and St George’s University of London spoke at the event. She is compiling a handbook that will outline how to deliver each of the recommended placement models.
‘It will be uploaded to the CSP learning hub, and we plan to analyse the effect on placement offers by delegates before and after the event,’ she said.  

Top tips

  • ’Be as collaborative as possible - many hands make light work’ Matthew Wyatt
  • ’Have a clear outcome and ways to evaluate the event. And ensure you follow up on any pledges for action’Alison Jones 

Persuading politicians

A physio student marked Older People’s day by taking part in an event on 1 October that allowed her to influence local MP, Andy McDonald.
Roisin Fallen-Bailey, a final year student at Teesside University, helped organise the event for residents at Middlesbrough Intermediate Care Centre.
She also spoke about falls prevention, provided exercise demonstrations and screened the CSP’s new falls animation for residents and Mr McDonald alike.
‘The main aim was to provide an understanding that anyone can have a fall or be at risk of falling, not just older people, as it’s a result of loss of strength in the muscles,’ said Miss Fallen-Bailey.  
As well as discussing the issues with the local MP, she provided him with a CSP ‘Think physio for primary care’ briefing.
Outcome: ‘Mr McDonald showed an interest in the presentation,’ she said. ‘Especially at the savings that can be made with a physio led falls prevention service. And he even got involved in the exercises.’ 

Top tip

  • ‘Keep it simple. Give a presentation on falls prevention to a GP practice or doctors in a local hospital’ Roisin Fallen-Bailey.

Influencing transformation plans

More than 80 members attended an ‘exerting influence’ event organised by the CSP East Midlands regional network. The aim was to empower members to influence sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) in the region.
Lucy Cocker and Felicity Begley, joint co-chairs of the network, organised and led the session.
‘I wanted to give members the confidence to influence,’ said Ms Cocker, a senior physio at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust. 
‘So we arranged for a great selection of speakers to attend, from CSP chief executive Karen Middleton to right care delivery partners, who talked about lessons they’d learnt and provided tools to help members with their work.’
Outcome: Delegates have been challenged, over the next five months, to work on ‘how to engage with and influence my STP’. 

Top tips 

  • ‘Know your stakeholders and what you want to influence’
  • ’Think about how other people would see your idea. Try to stand in their shoes’
  • ’Bring your team with you, with a common goal’ Lucy Cocker 

Influencing service guidelines

Physiotherapists in Wales influenced the wording of a guideline document, published this September, on a specialist service for patients with complex musculoskeletal problems.
The Welsh government issued a draft of a guideline for the Clinical Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service (CMATS) in July 2016. This could have affected physiotherapists’ roles, in particular a section on the skill set required for clinical leads.
CSP members helped set up an All Wales multidisciplinary CMATS clinical interest group with other clinicians to discuss the proposed changes.
Physio Helen Welch, the chair of the CMATS clinical network in Wales, and Mark Knight-Davies (pictured above), a consultant physio for Aneurin Bevan Health Board, were involved.
Outcome: Ms Welch told Frontline: ‘Having all the professions involved and having that cohesive agreement helped to inform and shape and change that document.’
In addition, Mr Knight-Davies has become a therapies representative on the Welsh Orthopaedic Board. ‘So in the future, if new service or transformation ideas are being talked about, we will have a voice at the table,’ he said.  

Top tips 

  • ’Be aware of stakeholders – both internal and external to your organisation – and identify key people, meetings and working parties to attend’
  • ’A team approach is more powerful – avoid a biased perspective’
  • ’Provide clear and well explained reasons for change’  Helen Welch and Mark Knight-Davies 

What next?

For resources and information to help you promote the benefits of physiotherapy in primary care, contact the CSP policy team. Email;

Want to find out more about influencing locally?

If you are based in England, contact the campaigns and regional engagement team. Email:
Robert Millett

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