‘Physiotherapy is on the precipice of something truly great’

It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to spend two days with CSP members at the recent annual representative’s conference (ARC) in Manchester, says Karen Middleton

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton
CSP chief executive Karen Middleton

At the event in July, the members representing the various networks, regions and country boards were more diverse than ever, which brought a real richness to the debates. And I was delighted to see so many of the professional networks represented this year. This meant that the motions up for discussion were more varied and many more were about physiotherapy practice.

For me and my staff, there is nothing quite like listening to what matters most to members as we try to ensure our plans for work next year reflect your priorities. 

It’s also good to hear how our work now is positively impacting on you in your professional lives.

I really enjoyed the different approaches we tried this year too – panels, discussions, fringe meetings and a great speech by Paul Nowak, general secretary of the TUC. And, of course, the chat continued over dinner, dancing and the awards ceremony!

For my part, I wanted to close the conference with a general ‘state of the nation’ speech to reflect where we are and how tough, in all sectors, it is right now. 

I also wanted to recognise, though, what we have achieved as a collective body whether that’s the industrial action, the community rehabilitation campaign or the microaggressions campaign – we have a lot of work to do, but we have also achieved so much!

I also took the indulgent step of reflecting on the last 10 years since I joined the CSP as CEO. From where I was concerned, we might ‘sleep walk into oblivion’ (2014) to ‘physiotherapy is on the precipice of something truly great’ (2023).

Together, we have united as a profession. We are confident and mature enough in our offer to happily work collaboratively with other similar professions; support workers/associates are a critical part of the physiotherapy workforce; we want everyone to feel like they belong and bring their authentic self to the party; our clinical autonomy is unquestionable; and rehabilitation is what we all do, every day, in one form or another.

As I say, there is so much still to do, but thank you to all the representatives who volunteer every day and who I met at ARC. 

Listen to Karen’s ARC 2023 speech 'Physiotherapy is on the precipice of something truly great' in full.

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