Physio 20 gets underway

Physiotherapy UK 2020, the UK’s largest and most important event dedicated to physiotherapy, has opened today. 

Alex MacKenzie, Chair of Council, opens the conference

Almost 1,000 delegates have joined the start of vPUK, a huge virtual world designed exclusively for the CSP, with full avatar-based interaction.

Chair of CSP Council Alex Mackenzie welcomed members by telling them: ‘The spirit of our conference is very much alive’. She opened the conference with a celebration of the centenary of the CSP’s Royal Charter, looking back at a century of physiotherapy knowledge, progress and innovation and forward to future challenges.

What's worked

‘I have never been prouder of my profession and how it’s coped,’ she said. ‘I am aware that it’s not without its toll... We know we still have challenges ahead of us. Like we have done over the last 100 years, let’s take a look at what’s worked and learn from it.’

She also spoke frankly about the challenges and learning on equality, diversity and inclusion that she has experienced in recent months, and concluded by saying: ‘Here’s to the next 100 years of amazing physiotherapy.’

Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer at NHS England, gave this year’s opening plenary. Her speech, Back to the future, honoured the achievements of some individual CSP members and also recognised the influence of the society’s work promoting support worker opportunities, and on expanding student placement provision.

CSP members praised

She commended CSP members for their work during the pandemic, saying: ‘Your compassion, flexibility and innovation cannot be underestimated, thank you.’

The vPUK Founders' Lecture was presented by Sallie Lamb, the Mireille Gillings professor for health innovation at the University of Exeter and an honorary departmental professor at the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford.  She opened by saying: ‘I’m immensely proud to be a physiotherapist’.

Improve practice research

Her lecture, '100 years of research - Where has it got us to, Where do we need to go', saw her presenting a history of physiotherapy research over the past 100 years, and outlining the scope of current approaches to research in the profession. She acknowledged that research into practice is a vital part of what physiotherapists do but that there are areas where it can be developed and improved.

'Push the pace'

In closing, Professor Lamb, who is the first physio to be appointed a fellowship of  the Academy of Medical Sciences, told delegates: ‘We must push the pace. We must push to support more research and development. We cannot let up, we all need to think about how we rise to the challenge of Covid and beyond.

‘Let’s keep one eye on now and let’s keep the other eye on the future.’

vPUK continues throughout today and tomorrow with networking sessions, workshops, poster presentations and more. Sessions are focused around four themes: the next generation, fit for work, managing complexity (including MSK), and innovation in rehabilitation.

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