Positive thinking

Karen Middleton, chief exec at the CSP, urges members to consider their resolutions for a difficult year ahead.

I’m not normally a glass-half-empty sort of person, but even I think this year is going to be a tough one for many CSP members – whatever your sector or specialism. 
It’s tough, whether you are looking at the world political stage, the UK economy, the demand on the health and care system, or your team finances. 
And – to add to the general malaise – January means long nights and dark days to get through. 
So, short of heading somewhere hot, sunny and trouble-free, what’s to be done?
I have talked in this column before about the importance of a leader providing hope to those he/she leads. Like many CSP members, I remain optimistic.
You start every day with optimism and you use your skill and expertise to perform small miracles. Whether it’s treating patients, teaching and inspiring students, researching new models of care or leading and managing services, it’s a privilege to do that, and most of the time it’s a pleasure.
Yet it’s often when we are most challenged that we fulfil our potential for achieving something new and different. Out of adversity can come greatness. 
The NHS was created after the chaos and destruction of the Second World War. And the physiotherapy profession came into its own after the First World War. 
I’d say 2017 offers a number of opportunities.
First, we could develop a radically different physiotherapy workforce focused on prevention and enabling people to remain independent in their own homes as they age. It would have a greater skill mix, be trained to high standards and potentially include apprenticeships.
We could expand the workforce, have it work to the top of its licence and take on new roles, shifting care closer to home.
Secondly, we must highlight to local decision-makers and commissioners that physiotherapists offer great value for money. Purchasers want cost-effective services that add value, 
We need to focus on prevention, from promoting physical activity and making every contact count, through to preventing admission via A&E. I have always said that a successful physiotherapist is one where the patient becomes less, not more, dependent on professional support. This approach is needed more than ever where demand is outstripping supply.
Using data to boost our role may sound a bit dry, but is now essential. Anecdote and stories, while valid, are not enough on their own. We should challenge any assertion that the ‘evidence just isn’t there’. There should be no excuses to members using data to prove their case.
Similarly, to deny the potential of innovations and new technologies is to deny others the opportunity for better rehabilitation.
Lastly every CSP member can, potentially, step up to a diverse range of leadership roles. The skills that we have in assessing and diagnosing problems, analysing data, problem-solving, communicating and motivating are basic requirements for any good leader. So be confident to try it out or push yourselves further. The healthcare system will benefit from more of these skill sets that translate from the clinical environment to the leadership one.
So what will turn all this potential into reality?
We are the ones to do this. We have to take personal responsibility for developing these potential opportunities. If not, our profession remains like a teenager who has wasted their potential and failed to seize the opportunities placed before them. It will also limit the benefits to the UK population, patients and their families, the tax payer, the healthcare system and the profession. 
Imagine pulling off that small miracle this year – making a difference to all those people. We have the new CSP strategy that provides the framework for us to do all this.
Let’s do it! fl 

Contact Karen

You can email Karen at: enquiries@csp.org.uk

Karen Middleton CSP Chief Executive Officer

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