Start thinking about the future

Karen Middleton suggests that now is the time to start taking stock, looking ahead and planning for the post-pandemic future 

Start thinking about the future CSP CEO Karen Middleton

The old adage ‘don’t waste a good crisis’ can feel harsh when people are losing their lives and their livelihoods. 

So can looking too far ahead when you are dealing with the here and now. But leaders need to do exactly that: take advantage of every opportunity this terrible pandemic throws up and look ahead to at least the medium term. 

This is difficult when you’re working at pace, reacting rather than responding and adapting to the ever-changing evidence and advice. These behaviours must not become the norm and it is important you take time to slow down, to take stock and think about your strategy for moving forward. 

The impact of this pandemic on our lives – and I suspect on our profession – will linger, possibly forever.  

I think the profile of the profession has increased significantly, particularly the fact that physiotherapy is a critical aspect of managing people with severe respiratory problems. This has come through media coverage, from the prime minister’s comments on his own experience and from our members’ advice about working from home. How might you use this higher profile to greater effect locally? 

The need for more physiotherapists and support workers has also been highlighted, with the workforce being stretched. And the crisis has shown how flexible the profession can be to adapt to working in different sectors and specialities. How can you put  
this flexibility to greater use in developing care pathways and services? How will this impact on training and development across the profession? 

Rehabilitation has come into the spotlight, both in relation to recovering from Covid-19 symptoms and to the deconditioning that many others are experiencing. It’s brought home that rehab must be led by the patient and that it extends way beyond discharging someone from ICU or hospital. How are you going to build on this renewed focus on rehabilitation, particularly in the community? 

The switch to virtual consultations that we saw in the private sector and NHS has demonstrated that we can move fast on the digital agenda when needed. Now it is important to evaluate when virtual is the optimum way of delivering rehab and when it is not. With demand growing exponentially, how will you maximise the opportunities this progress brings? 

We have seen many of our members step up and lead the response across healthcare. We need role models to highlight how physio staff can lead, manage and give confidence to others to step up. How are you going to nurture those in the profession to do so? There are many opportunities from this pandemic to build on and the risk is that we forget them and go back to the old normal. We mustn’t let that happen. 

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