Member stories help CSP shine spotlight on loss of space

The CSP has used national media to raise awareness of the serious impact that the loss of rehab space is having on patient care. 


Coverage by the Independent, Daily Mail and others focused on the ongoing problem of space not being returned after being taken during the pandemic and reported results from the recent member survey on the issue. 

The CSP collected responses from members who reported a loss of space from their services in more than 100 areas across the UK. 

Among the testimony were examples including: 

  • Physiotherapy staff having to provide vital rehab in cupboards and storage facilities 
  • Vital rehab services been moved overnight to areas patients can’t reach 
  • A lack of heating and running water in replacement spaces 
  • Custom-built rehab gyms routinely being used by other services and not returned to rehab services 

Physiotherapy staff reported the cuts as having dramatic consequences for patient care: 

  • 73 per cent physio staff said they couldn’t offer the rehab services their patients need 
  • As a result of loss of rehab space, nearly 50 per cent of physio staff were seeing fewer patients each week 
  • Nearly half (46 per cent) said it had resulted in a poorer quality of life for patients due to physical pain and immobility 
  • It is also leading to patients having poorer mental health such as depression and anxiety (33 per cent), increased levels of impairment (38 per cent) and higher chance of being readmitted to hospital in the future (37 per cent) 

And at a time of severe workforce shortages, respondents also talked about the impact of losing rehab space on themselves and their colleagues: 

  • 58 per cent of physios have considered leaving their jobs at some point 
  • 87 per cent said it lowered morale 
  • 70 per cent said it caused increased stress 

The CSP is calling on the government to urgently deliver a workforce strategy and for healthcare decision makers to place a greater priority on ensuring physiotherapy services are given the staff and space they need to deliver effective patient care. 

It is also urging local NHS leaders to urgently return rehab space taken during the pandemic, or to provide appropriate alternative facilities. 

Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the CSP, welcomed the coverage and thanked members for playing their role in raising the issue. 

‘We asked for your help and you responded in droves to tell us about the awful circumstances you and your patients are facing,’ she said. 

‘Without your testimony we could not have raised this critical issue and we hope that by doing so, we will help bring pressure on local leaders to return space and ensure national decision-makers keep rehab front of mind.’ 

Karen Middleton being interviewed on Sky News
Chief executive Karen Middleton was interviewed on Sky News

The CSP has a range of resources to challenge loss of space locally and examples of where working in partnership with members, we have been able to return facilities to services. 


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