Patients in Wales are suffering from limited access to physiotherapists with specialist expertise in mental health, the Welsh Assemblys health committee has been told.
Liz John, head of mental health physiotherapy services at Cardiff and Vale trust, told the assembly’s health, well-being and local government committee last month, that better workforce planning for mental health services was needed if the patchy service of specialist physiotherapy for mental health was to be improved across Wales. She said the lack of inclusion of physiotherapy in the Welsh national service framework for mental health had led to funding for physiotherapy not being a priority, and patients not being able to access physiotherapy in a more flexible and supportive way. Ms John was part of a panel of health and social care professionals that also included a psychiatric nurse, an occupational therapist, and a social worker. The panel gave evidence in a ‘round table’ session to the committee, after lobbying to be heard by organisations including the CSP. CSP policy officer for Wales Philippa Ford said: ‘There is a shortfall in physiotherapy provision in mental health services in Wales. We are starting from a very low baseline. In some areas there is no provision of specialist physiotherapy at all. ‘Patients are accessing generic services for physiotherapy and not seeing practitioners who have specialist expertise in mental health. We want to ensure the value of physiotherapy in this specialist field is not overlooked.’
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