NHS needs AHP workforce data, CSP’s Steve Tolan says

The NHS lacks the ability to maximise the expertise of physiotherapists because of poor data about workforce and quality of services, the CSP’s head of practice Steve Tolan said.


Steve Tolan: Data has to be processed to identify opportunities for better services

Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum in London this March, he gave the example of primary care, where advanced practitioners may be working between a routine physiotherapy service and orthopaedics.

‘In some circumstances you might want to re-deploy those physios to front door rather than, if you like, the back door. So it’s thinking about what you have and having the data to be able to make those decisions.’

Describing himself as ‘a bit of a data geek’, he said the issue was not just about having data, but processing it in order to identify opportunities across populations.

Ieuan Ellis, pro vice-chancellor at Staffordshire University and a physiotherapist by background, predicted that many professional roles were going to be replaced by robots. He said there was talk that the legal profession was largely going to be replaced in this way.

‘We need to think very carefully about those aspects of our roles where we will frankly be redundant and those where we can see technology as a real enabler to add value in the way in which we interact with people and patients,’ he told the event.

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