Future of primary and community services in England - CSP responds to consultation

The CSP has contributed to NHS England’s consultation on its proposals for primary care networks, advocating the crucial role of physiotherapy staff in patient-centred care.

A physiotherapist providing rehab in the community

The proposals, outlined in a draft document published on 23 December, set out how NHS England expects primary and community services to transform in order to meet the aims of the long-term plan.

In its response the CSP highlighted the importance of the roll out of first contact physiotherapists (FCP) in optimising GPs’ time, and the critical role of physios and support workers in community rehabilitation teams to improve care and rehabilitation for people with multiple long-term conditions and those living in care homes.

It also stressed the importance of FCPs to spearhead shared decision making in MSK services, and the role of physiotherapists in medicines optimisation, including as independent prescribers.

And it strongly advocated the need to facilitate the expansion of the physiotherapy workforce, particularly to invest in training and developing physiotherapists with advanced practice skills, and developing the support worker workforce in community rehabilitation.

The CSP response also highlighted the need to address the problems faced by staff needing to improve data collection caused by different systems not aligning, physiotherapists not having access to the right systems, or staff not having access to effective mobile hardware.

Ruth ten Hove, CSP assistant director, practice and development who contributed to the consultation response, said: ‘The new contracts recognise the contribution of the wider multi-disciplinary team in providing frontline services for people closer to their homes, which is great news.

‘This is a critical time for physiotherapy leaders to engage in local conversations about how primary care networks and community providers will make this happen.’

Sue Hayward-Giles, assistant director, practice and development, who also contributed, added: ‘The changes envisaged rely on the full roll-out of musculoskeletal FCPs in primary care freeing up GP time and reducing demand in other parts of the system.

‘But the opportunities this presents for physiotherapy are broader. Critical to the success of the plan is the ability of CSP members to present data, demonstrate need and impact, and influence strategic planning locally.’

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