ATOCP conference: Karen Barker encourages the development and leading of an evidence based orthopaedic physio service

All physios should undertake ‘research’ in their work setting, at whatever level is possible, a fellow of the CSP told the Association of Trauma and Orthopaedic Chartered Physiotherapists annual conference in Oxford on 26 November.


Associate professor Karen Barker said she ‘passionately believed’ that carrying out some form of research should be part of the job description for all physios.

Associate professor Barker, clinical director for musculoskeletal services at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and director of therapy research at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘Lots of people are willing to undercut us, so we need to demonstrate that we are worth paying for.

‘What you produce might not be a paper for the BMJ, but what the grassroots produces is just as important for the physiotherapy profession.’

Associate professor Barker called on physios working in busy NHS settings to consider what evidence can improve their practice even if it isn’t ‘proper’ research.

Clinicians should also look at how they can modify research in order to implement it readily and successfully.

An evidence-based physiotherapy service is delivering the right evidence-based intervention in the right way, at the right time, and in the constraints of a busy and financially-pressured NHS, she said.

Associate professor Barker said high-quality research could be adapted by reconfiguring it as a less intense programme of treatment, or over a shorter duration.

But she urged physios to ensure they audit the results from any adapted treatment programmes to provide figures for commissioners.

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