Vital tradition

With the focus increasingly on research and continuing professional development, we look at a long-established source of support for members

In 2004 Dave Thompson, a senior physio at Pennine Acute hospitals trust, received £14,750 from the CSP Charitable Trust. The award enabled him to study the relationship between cognitive factors and levels of pain and disability in patients with chronic neck pain, specifically those with idiopathic chronic neck pain and whiplash associated disorder. His results showed a significant association between specific cognitive factors and levels of pain and disability in patients with chronic neck pain. ‘On the basis of this, we have developed a neck pain group intervention which is designed to modify cognitive factors and maximise function,’ Mr Thompson said. ‘We are currently performing a randomised control trial to assess the efficacy of this intervention compared to conventional forms of treatment.’ The funding allowed Mr Taylor to combine research with clinical work, and he is now completing a PhD on a part-time basis. Jane Cumming also received a Charitable Trust award in 2004 – in her case £5,079 – to undertake a two-year review of the evidence for prosthetic ambulation following a single above-knee amputation for vascular disease in older people. The grant meant she had regular, protected time out of the clinical environment, like Mr Taylor, with her workload covered. The benefits of her research for patient care were considerable. ‘I feel armed with the best evidence to inform my assessments of patients,’ said Ms Cumming, who is based at the South Tees trust disablement services centre in Middlesbrough. ‘I have changed my documentation and vastly improved the outcome measurements of intervention, so this research will continue to be informed by audit.’ These are just two of the countless members the Charitable Trust and its predecessors have supported in research and education over more than 60 years. The Charitable Trust’s roots date back to the setting up of the Lucy Robinson Memorial Fund in 1922. In 1894, Lucy Robinson was one of the founder members of the Society of Trained Masseuses and she went on to serve on the first-ever CSP Council and to play a major role in the Society’s being granted its Royal Charter in 1913. After her death, members donated funds to provide three bursaries of £20 for students working for the qualification in massage and medical gymnastics. The Lucy Robinson Fund was followed by other bursaries and prizes over the decades. The J G Smith Memorial Fund, for example, was set up in 1952 by a CSP member in memory of her father. Mr Smith suffered badly from backache and headaches, and his daughter Edna practised on him as her first patient. The Elspeth Curphy Kingdon Prize and Bursary Fund was established in 1954 to commemorate Mrs Kingdon’s work as the first head sister for massage in the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, and its grants were originally restricted to male CSP members who had served in the Royal Navy. More recently, in 1995, the Mary Gibson Memorial Award was set up by Dr Gibson in memory of his wife, to support research which has direct relevance to physiotherapy practice. Many of these funds have now been amalgamated under the auspices of the Charitable Trust, but the vision that inspired them is as fresh as ever. The Charitable Trust was set up in 1980 as an independent charity and makes annual awards through a variety of funds to students, associate and chartered members. In 2007, the trust gave a total of £119,472 in research grants and made educational awards to the value of £83,006. Three independent committees make recommendations to the Charitable Trust. The scientific panel considers applications for research projects and student research abstracts, as well as presentations at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. The educational awards panel considers a range of activities for both associate and chartered members, including courses, presentations and study visits, while the Joe Jeans Memorial Fund panel evaluates applications from students wanting to develop their practice on overseas placements. All three panels follow a robust process for reviewing applications, and panel members, who are from the CSP membership or appropriate external bodies, are experts in clinical practice, education and research. The individuals, teams and projects eligible to apply for funding are: student members to present at CSP Congress or to go on an overseas elective placement; associate members for nationally recognised, academically accredited courses, such as an N/SVQ qualification or foundation degree, and chartered members for relevant research projects, academically accredited courses, dissemination of research at national and international conferences, visits to international physiotherapy centres of excellence and large-scale developmental projects of benefit to the profession. As the evidence-base for physiotherapy continues to grow and as physiotherapists become increasingly involved in research and continuing professional development, so the demand for Charitable Trust help is greater than ever. Charitable Trust chair Louise Jones comments: ‘It is tremendous that so many members are applying to the trust for educational or research awards; however, we would welcome further donations or legacies to the trust so that we can respond more to this increasing demand.’ The Charitable Trust relies on members’ support in order to continue its vital work. Please see the leaflet in this issue of Frontline and help to continue a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the profession. • See Frontline 4 February for details of how to apply for the next round of awards

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