Physio student funding review must safeguard entry to the profession and workforce supply, CSP chief tells ministers

Any changes to funding for physiotherapy education must safeguard workforce supply and entry to the profession, Karen Middleton says in letters to three government ministers


Any review of funding for physio education should be informed by physiotherapy professionals and students. Photo: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian

The CSP chief executive says that an ‘overriding priority’ in any review of physio student grants must be making sure that people entering the profession come from all parts of society.

We must ensure that ‘physiotherapists are representative of the population and patient groups they serve,’ she says.

The letters, dated 22 September, were sent to health minister Ben Gummer, chief secretary to the treasury Greg Hands and the minister for universities and science Joseph Johnson.

They were written in the context of a call by leading academics to end physio student grants and cut Health Education England's budget.

Any change is expected to be announced in the government's comprehensive review of public spending which concludes on 25 November.

Ms Middleton highlights that as a result of current funding arrangements there are not enough physiotherapists, meaning that workforce supply is not keeping pace with demand. This is jeopardising patients’ access to high-quality, timely physiotherapy and delivery of the service changes set out in the government's Five-Year Forward View.

Any review of funding for physio education should involve the CSP and be informed by the views of physiotherapy professionals and students, the chief executive says.

‘We would support a review of pre-registration physiotherapy education and student funding, subject to its fully considering the complex issues and risks involved,’ Ms Middleton’s letter to the ministers adds.

The decision to approach the government about this issue was endorsed by the CSP council at a meeting in London.

Council also agreed to a process both to oversee the CSP's position as developments become clearer and to ensure that this is informed by member engagement and feedback.

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