In person: how can the CSP help you?

CEO Karen Middleton outlines the help available for you from the CSP. But it’s up to you to use it!


Over the last couple of years of being CEO at the CSP, I have written these columns with aspiring leaders in our profession in mind. I have chosen topics which I think might be helpful or are issues that physiotherapists have raised when I spend time with members across the UK. They have also been inspired by physiotherapists I have observed.

Leadership has been the theme running through all the columns – a subject I am passionate about because of the difference it can make to people’s lives: to the public, patients, their families and to staff. 

My view is that you can be a good manager and not a leader, but you cannot be a good leader without being able to manage. So learning how to manage resources, including people, is an important starting point. 

Some commentators have suggested that the drive to develop leaders and leadership skills has meant that management is becoming a lost art, or science. This would be disastrous, particularly at a time of very limited resources. So I urge all physiotherapists to develop those management skills, whatever sector you are in: planning, organising, prioritising, budgeting, performance management. And remember, you may not have a large team or budget – or any team or budget – but you are also a resource, so how you manage yourself to best effect is critical.

Brilliant leaders

I am not suggesting that you need to learn to be a manager first and then learn to become a leader. There tends to be some hierarchy associated with management, simply because the more senior you are the broader your management responsibility and accountability becomes, but leadership can be exhibited at any level. I have observed some brilliant leadership skills in student physiotherapists and physiotherapy associates. We all have, I’m sure.

Becoming a clinical expert is no longer enough. We have to develop as rounded professionals and that includes management and leadership skills. After all, what is the point of being a fabulous clinical expert if you are unable to evidence or articulate your offer, or that of your service, to planners or commissioners?

The CSP’s Physiotherapy Works programme has produced some fantastic tools over the past few years. As well as all the briefings, I have been particularly impressed by the workforce data model, the falls prevention economic model and the physiotherapy cost calculator because they assist with other people’s problems. A good leader always tries to be solution-focused and they use data to demonstrate economic value. And they’re easy to use. 

But these are tools that need to be used by you locally, not by the CSP staff. In order to help you do so, we are developing, as part of the Physiotherapy Works programme, a suite of initiatives to support you in your management and leadership development. These range from a business skills development game (the CSP staff have had a great time testing this!) and a collection of leadership resources, to a mentoring scheme for members. 

We have undertaken a considerable amount of research to test these initiatives with aspiring leaders at all levels before launching them. We had to find out was needed as well as establishing what is already there, so that we can target our help where it is most needed. We also quizzed a whole range of leaders across all sectors about what had helped them and what their observations were on where we could best place our energies.

Quality care

As with the other tools we have already produced, it’s now over to you to make use of them and keep us informed of your progress. Becoming better managers and leaders is important for so many reasons: It improves your employability; it ensures effective and efficient services which are good value for money; it ensures others can perform at their very best; it improves the performance of the team, service and organisation and it ensures change, movement and improvement. 

But, most important of all, developing effective management and leadership skills will ensure high quality services are delivered to the public and patients, where quality is defined as safe, efficient, effective and compassionate care. 


Karen Middleton Chief Executive Officer CSP

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