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Louise Hunt looks at a new addition to this year’s Congress programme

At Congress this year members will   for the first time have the chance to join informal professional sessions on areas of current debate and practice. The small, less formal seminars will run alongside the main programme and grew out of members’ ideas. ‘They are a chance to share on-the-ground experiences of working on a number of different projects,’ explains Ann Green, chair of the Congress programme development group.  Jean Heseltine, chair of Congress management group, adds: ‘These sessions were designed to give delegates an opportunity to be involved in more interactive sessions, where the participants will be able to discuss a number of topical issues and look at the implications for physiotherapy practice and the profession. We hope they will appeal to a cross section of delegates who want to explore the topics in more detail.’ LOW BACK PAIN The low back pain guidelines, published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in May, will be the focus of one session, which will look at how they will be implemented through physiotherapy services and how members can influence commissioners. ‘Physiotherapy is the main profession that is going to be able to offer services across the whole guidance, from referrals to rehabilitation and pain management,’ says session presenter Elaine Buchanan, consultant physiotherapist at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, who was on the guideline development group.    She will urge physios to be more proactive in contacting commissioners. ‘We must say we are the profession that can work across the whole lower back pain care pathway, because if we don’t do it then someone else will,’ she says. Her talk will also cover the role of research and undergraduate training in implementing the guidance. CHARTING THE FUTURE Complementing this pertinent theme will be a session questioning whether physiotherapy’s future can be charted. ‘Everyone in the profession talks about physiotherapy’s core skills and knowledge and its unique selling point, but what are these? Can they be defined?’ asks Virginia Wykes, who leads the CSP’s Charting the Future project. ‘And how can we preserve them while we also move forward into new areas of practice? In this age of having to prove our worth to those who use and buy our services, how can we demonstrate all the many existing and potential benefits we bring to people’s health and well-being?’ ENGLISH REGIONAL BOARDS Another topic likely to get a lively debate going is the launch of the English networks that are replacing the CSP’s regional boards. ‘Physiotherapists are innovative and well equipped to find solutions to current health concerns. This session will inspire you to seize opportunities and make a difference, whatever your specialty, grade or current post,’ says Anne Jackson, English networks programme manager, who will present the session with CSP head of public affairs and policy development Gary Robjent. The speakers will include Shelagh Morris, allied health professions officer at the Department of Health; Sarah Bazin, CSP vice president, and Sue Browning, CSP deputy chief executive. Their talks will be followed by a discussion forum. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT Two sessions are also being devoted to a physio-led weight management service. Elaine Conlin and Kate Gardner, from Aintree University Hospitals trust, who are responsible for the initiative, will look at the health and safety aspects of developing the service, how the current service is delivered, physiotherapy’s role as part of multidisciplinary teams and the service’s recent success in winning a city-wide bid to deliver a community service for morbidly obese adults. ‘This is a very exciting time for us,’ says Ms Conlin. And Lesley Dawson of Adapt, the CSP occupational interest group for international health and development, will talk about the opportunities for paid and voluntary physiotherapy work abroad in her session, ‘A rough guide to working across cultures’. To book your place at Congress, use the booking form on page 19 of this issue, or book online at www.cspcongress.co.uk
Louise Hunt

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