Physiotherapists have never had so much power to change the lives of people with neurological conditions, but they also need to be in a position to influence policy.
Jane Burridge, the new president of ACPIN
This was the key message from Jane Burridge, newly-elected president of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology (ACPIN), in her speech at the association’s annual conference in London on 24 March.
Professor Burridge, who leads the neurorehabilitation research group at the University of Southampton, said that neuro physios were more effective than ever before because
- scientific discoveries are leading to a better understanding of the progression of neurological diseases and people’s recovery
- technology is providing powerful tools for therapy and assessment
- clear evidence is emerging for both new and established treatments
Raising profile of the profession
But, despite their growing expertise, Professor Burridge warned that neurological physiotherapists still needed to find ways to stress the importance of their work to the NHS commissioners, medical colleagues and the media. They had to find ways to ensure they had ‘a seat at the table’ when budgets, strategies and healthcare pathways are debated and decided.
‘We need more consultant neurological physiotherapists, and senior academics with clinical backgrounds, who raise our status and recognition,’ she said. ‘And highly skilled practitioners who are engaged in useful research that translates into clinical practice.
‘Then we can deliver better therapy, provide rewarding career opportunities, demonstrate that what we do is evidence-based and ensure that new treatments and technologies are designed by us and with patients so that they are fit-for-purpose.’
She added that her ambition as ACPIN president was to raise the profile of neurological physiotherapists and improve recognition of their work, education and research.
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