Mind your Ps and send us your Qs

Professionalism is high on the agenda and even if you’re not at the CSP’s conference next week, you can still join in the debate, says Gill Hitchcock.


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It’s that time of year again: conference season. At the CSP’s Physiotherapy UK 2013 in Birmingham the Francis report is set be a hot topic.

On day two of the event – Saturday 12 October - issues emerging since the publication of the Francis report following the Mid-Staffordshire inquiry will take centre stage.

It will be debated, along with the subsequent Keogh, Berwick, and Cavendish reports and their recommendations about patient safety, sharing best practice, training and education, and transparency and accountability.

CSP members, including students, professionals and support workers who all have a role in ensuring physiotherapy is part of the solution to the issues raised in Francis, can contribute to this debate.

If you’re not at Physiotherapy UK 2013, don’t worry.

Doubts remain on raising concerns

On her final day as chair of CSP Council, Dr Helena Johnson will chair the conference debate. She told Frontline: ‘The CSP is keen to help members engage with the key messages of Francis. This is increasingly important as proposals are developed for implementing Francis’ recommendations.

‘Members need to show their engagement through demonstrating professionalism and clinical leadership in their day-to-day practice, and advocating for physiotherapy’s crucial role in improving how services are delivered.’

Professionalism is at the heart of Francis and the debate is likely to cover how CSP members can demonstrate their professionalism and the value and impact of physiotherapy on the quality of patient care and service improvement.

In early 2013 the CSP updated its web pages on professionalism, which include key CSP resources such as the Code of Professional Values and Behaviour, Quality Assurance Standards and Duty of Care guidance.

‘Our resources on professionalism are inclusive of all members – students and associates, as well as qualified members – and they can help everyone to engage with post-Francis activity, regardless of career stage and role,’ emphasises Sally Gosling, CSP’s assistant director of practice and  development.

These resources place a strong emphasis on patient-centred professionalism and include advice for members on regulatory requirements and the role these play in maintaining public and patient protection and safety.

Catherine McLoughlin, CSP council lay member and a former deputy chief nursing officer for England, will address the session.

She welcomes the CSP’s helping physiotherapists think about changes needed in the NHS, but adds:  ‘The need for culture change is referred to in the press and CSP reports, but it is not clear what physiotherapists on wards are going to do in making changes or reporting problems.’

Lack of resources can 'damage staff'

Another key speaker at the event is Julia Scott, chief executive of the British Association and College of Occupational Therapists.

She says: ‘In common with Karen Middleton and others related to the Allied Health Professions (AHP) Federation, I am going to be talking about the issue of professionalism, which we have been talking about pre-Francis and we continue to talk about post-Francis.

‘And this is a good wake up call to remind us to talk about professionalism. In some ways I think the “p” word has become something of a dirty word over the last few years, and something we have not talked about enough.’

Ms Scott notes that physios and others in health and social care face huge challenges because of rising demand and tight resources. ‘When staff are exposed to those pressures, sometimes the environment itself becomes very damaging to individuals,’ she adds.

Physiotherapy can contribute

‘But the important thing I am going to talk about is not letting the environment affect our own behaviour, professionalism, values; remembering why you came into the profession and holding those values dear.’

The debate, at which NHS England’s chief AHP officer Karen Middleton will speak, is expected to cover the priorities for implementing the Francis review’s recommendations, opportunities for better clinical leadership and the development of standards.

MPs on the health select committee believe it is vital for the interests of patients that the lessons from Mid Staffs are learned and acted upon. In their After Francis report published in mid-September, the MPs maintain that the purpose of highlighting the lessons from Francis  is not to undermine the NHS but to improve it.

One of the report’s conclusions is that healthcare providers have a fundamental duty to establish an environment where concerns about patient safety and care quality can be raised by clinicians or managers and addressed openly.

The cross-party committee says it is vital to recognise that what happened to those patients at Mid Staffs who received poor care is not the day-to-day experience of millions of NHS patients treated each year by caring and committed staff.

The CSP will continue to advocate the quality and value of physiotherapy, particularly for meeting the needs of the increasing number of older patients with long-term conditions and complex needs.

As Dr Johnson says: ‘Delivering consistently safe, effective and compassionate care is the main focus of Francis.

Physiotherapy can really contribute to achieving this.’

Resources on professionalism

Get involved: Comments and questions

Even if you can’t attend conference you can still be involved in the debate. Whether a full member, student, associate or retired member, you can send a question for the panel before 10am on 12 October, the day of the debate.

Make sure you're logged in to post questions and responses below. We plan to screen some of your comments at the session and put some of your questions put to the panel.

The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #physio13

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Gill Hitchcock

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