Physiotherapy could gain from Scottish cash boost

The CSP has welcomed a 'clear steer' from government for Scottish health boards to spend new cash allocations on developing service innovations, with an emphasis on primary as well as acute care settings.

Scottish health minister Andy Kerr announced that health board budgets totalling £6 billion for 2005 to 2006 would include an 'extra' £466 million compared with 2004 to 2005. He said he wanted health boards to use the investment - an average 7.6 per cent increase per health board - to 'drive forward modernisation'. Mr Kerr said: 'Ninety per cent of care takes place outside a traditional hospital setting, through local nurses, physios, new walk-in clinics and innovations like telemedicine. That has to be the core focus of what we do in the health service - delivering that care better and faster than at present.'  He said health boards should develop new approaches to tackling long-standing problems, such as waiting times, as patients expected to receive 'personalised' care and specialised services. Kenryck Lloyd-Jones, CSP policy officer for Scotland, said Mr Kerr's comments showed he was keen to 'promote the kind of service innovations that physiotherapists are engaged in'. He added: 'No minister is ever going to make an explicit instruction for a health board to fund or not to fund something. 'But from this you can get a clear steer that he wants the money to be spent on modernising services and service innovations. Physiotherapy is at the forefront of many of those developments, like self-referral and extended scope of practice innovations.' The CSP is due to meet the new Welsh health and social services minister Brian Gibbons on February 17.  CSP policy officer for Wales Philippa Ford said the meeting was an 'extremely valuable opportunity' to discuss issues around the interface between health and social care arising from a review by the Welsh assembly's health and social care committee. The meeting will be held jointly with representatives from the College of Occupational Therapists and Age Concern Cymru.

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