A boom in membership has strengthened the CSP to deal with challenges ahead, says Sally Priestley
Champagne corks popped at the end of December’s Council meeting as members celebrated the CSP growing to 50,000 physiotherapists, students and associates.
Newly qualified physiotherapist Sadie Neal‘s application in November 2010 took the Society’s membership to this historic point in its 116-year history. And Sadie was invited along to join in the celebrations and to meet Council members.
Sadie, who graduated earlier this year, started out as a fitness instructor and yoga teacher before moving into the expanding physio profession as a mature student.
She became a CSP student member while studying for her degree at Colchester Institute and the University of Essex.
A mother of two whose husband was, until recently, in the Army and often away on active duty, Sadie says studying and training was ‘certainly very challenging but definitely worth it’.
She was inspired by the experience of seeing a team of physios giving palliative care to her mother to help her live more comfortably with cancer. ‘I don’t know how I managed to do everything at the time,’ she says, ‘but I knew once I’d decided I had to go ahead, because the perfect time might never come along to start the course.’
On top of family commitments, Sadie held down three part-time jobs while studying. She says it was particularly difficult to juggle study and home life when on placements, ‘but these were the really fun bits, so I always really wanted to be there.’ Sadie now has a flexible-hours contract as a respiratory assistant with the COPD team at Broomfield Hosiptal in Chelmsford.
She originally volunteered to work unpaid, in order to gain more experience of an area of physio she particularly loved. Instead, she was offered a couple of days’ paid work, which has since increased to five. Talking about her reasons for joining the CSP, she says ‘I was always going to do it.
The CSP are my professional body and a valuable pool of knowledge to tap into. I owe it to myself to put the letters after my name. ‘It strikes me as a very proactive body, not disheartened by the knockbacks being faced because of all the upheaval in the NHS. And I really like that because that’s the kind of person I am.’
Chief executive Phil Gray said the growth of the CSP and of physiotherapy - in response to the continuous growth in patient demand for physiotherapy - had been ‘remarkable’.
In December 1997 the Society had some 32,400 members, so the increase to 50,000 represents an impressive 54 per cent rise.
In terms of etention, the CSP’s efforts to review and modernise services and activities has been borne out in the results of the recent members survey in November 2010 showing that almost three quarters (74.7 per cent) of CSP members are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they receive.
And some 95 per cent of practising physios in the UK now stay with the CSP. Phil Gray, who became chief executive 12 years ago, says in his time at the Society physiotherapists have been increasingly called upon to help deliver the evolving health agenda across the four countries of the UK.
This period also coincides with the Labour government bringing the UK up to the European level of investment in health. The CSP had played a central part in the growth of the profession by ‘constantly making the case for physiotherapy, lobbying and campaigning nationally’, Phil Gray said. But he stressed that this was assisted members at local level. ‘Using the CSP staff, leaflets, campaigns, tools, training courses and publicity, members have successfully made the business case for delivering better, faster, and cost-effective care through physiotherapy.’
But he warned: ‘The UK’s economic situation and the major financial pressures facing health services over the next five years are likely to be very challenging for the CSP’s members in all four countries. ‘The next 13 years are very unlikely to see the growth of the last 13 years.
Nevertheless, the CSP and CSP members need to redouble their efforts to demonstrate the cost and clinically effective business case for physiotherapy, and most of all to show what a difference good physiotherapy can make to the lives of patients.’ fl
- ‘The CSP strikes me as a very proactive body, not disheartened by the knockbacks being faced because of all the upheaval in the NHS. And I really like that because that’s the kind of person I am,’ says newly-qualified physio and recent CSP recruit, Sadie Neal. Are you getting the most from your membership?
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