The CSP has expressed disappointment that the Spring Budget, announced today by chancellor Jeremy Hunt, makes no provision for increasing the recruitment and retention of physiotherapy staff.
However, the Society has welcomed other measures outlined in the Budget, including the government’s commitment to increase funding for musculoskeletal (MSK) health services.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hunt introduced a suite of measures to address the leading causes of ill health related inactivity, including extra funding that would scale up community MSK hubs in England, to enable more people to access treatment, and an expansion of access to the public to digital resources and health checks.
He said the government’s aim was ‘to support improved population health outcomes and increase the employment rate and hours worked among those with a health condition or disability.’
CSP policy director Rob Yeldham said: ‘Whilst extra funding to keep people with MSK conditions stay in work is welcome there was nothing extra for community rehabilitation. Without action to train and retain more physio and physio support workers it is difficult to see how new initiatives can be taken forward.
‘The budget simply did not address the biggest issue physiotherapy is facing, which is a lack of staff. We are lagging far behind other countries when it comes to the ratio of physiotherapists to patients.
Key to retaining NHS physios and support workers is fair pay, and there was nothing in the budget to address this and no recognition of the years of relative pay decline
‘We now await the government’s workforce strategy and hope it throws us a lifeline by clearly setting out how it will recruit and retain the big increase in physio numbers we need in the NHS to ensure patients get the quality of care they need to lead independent, active lives.’
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