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Just joined a physiotherapy course? Become a driving force for the profession, says Jamie Carson

As most Frontline readers know, massive changes are afoot in the NHS.

The latest cohort of student physiotherapists joining training courses this autumn will be in an exciting position when they graduate. They’ll be able to influence the attitude of future governments, patients, colleagues external bodies and commissioners towards the physiotherapy profession.

In unprecedented times like these, it’s never been more important to campaign, lobby and argue for what you believe in. Change doesn’t happen by being complacent.

It happens by joining together and making your voice heard. So I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the ‘March for a Future that Works’ demonstration on Saturday 20 October in London (see page 18).

One of its key messages will be the need to invest in public services in order to safeguard your future jobs and the health of the general public.

I’ve been working at the CSP as the students’ officer for nearly eight years, and during this time I’ve visited many other organisations that merely pay lip-service to the views of their student members. That’s not the case at the CSP.

Whether it’s through becoming your course CSP student rep, standing for election to the CSP student executive committee, or by attending our Physiotherapy UK conference (see page 46), your voice is listened to.

You might prefer to become a public health student champion, to engage with our online discussion group, interactiveCSP (iCSP), or to join the CSP in campaigning for more graduate jobs and fair employment rights.

You can also join the majority of the CSP’s professional networks. It’s another way both to develop as a student physiotherapist and for you to make yourself increasingly employable by adding an extra string to your bow.

Wear your CSP student polo shirt with pride. You were selected from hundreds to gain a place studying physiotherapy so be proud of your chosen profession and your professional body.

As a speaker at last year’s CSP student rep development weekend said: ‘I see a huge future for physiotherapy, and I hope students will be key in driving that forward.’

Not all students are going to graduate and move straight into a rotational post within the NHS.

This may be a daunting prospect for some of you but there are so many new and innovative opportunities out there for new graduates.

Take advantage of CSP resources to read about the issues behind the any qualified provider agenda – not only people’s legitimate fears but also the opportunities it brings.

Research the CSP website about independent prescribing, re-ablement, the emerging scope of practice and commissioning.

It’s no good putting your head in the sand. Embrace change and make a difference.


Jamie Carson is the CSP’s  students’ officer

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