Physios boost people’s work ambitions

Physios and students were among 10,000 visitors to The Naidex national event, titled ‘Pathways to independence’, at the NEC, Birmingham, from 30 April to 2 May. They heard presentations from an array of speakers. Ian A McMillan reports

Physiotherapists are ‘ideally placed’ to help people with long-term conditions to keep their jobs, according to the CSP Council chair Dr Helena Johnson.

Speaking to a packed audience, Dr Johnson argued that physios were also able to get people with long-term conditions back into employment at an early stage, as well as facilitating their managed return to work.

Dr Johnson challenged any perception that people with long-term illnesses were work-shy.

‘I want to make it very clear that the majority of people with long-term conditions want to work,’ she said.

‘They want to work for their own self-esteem and they want to contribute to their families, to society and to the economy. It’s not that they don’t want to work: it’s often that they don’t get the opportunity to have supported employment.’

Dr Johnson pointed out that around 140 million working days are lost each year through sickness absence in the UK, with more than half a million people suffering from long-term musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders caused by work.

‘Early access to physiotherapy is particularly effective in preventing MSK disorders from becoming long-term.

‘Self referral to appropriate services reduces the likelihood of people being off work for more than a month by 50 per cent.’

Dr Johnson said physios had the edge over some other practitioners because they followed a bio-psychosocial approach, had extensive specialist knowledge of long-term conditions and worked with patients through their entire ‘health journey’.

‘Hopefully, we have time to listen to individuals and their families and carers so that we can identify their needs and help support them into employment.’  

Ian A McMillan

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