SNP conference hears that ‘Scotland needs more physios’

CSP promotes physiotherapy workforce needs and the right to rehab at the Scottish National Party (SNP) annual conference in Aberdeen.

SNP conference 2023
CSP public affairs and policy manager, Kenryck Lloyd-Jone on stage with other panel members, including Michael Matheson MSP

The CSP took the message that ‘Scotland need more physios’ to the SNP conference this week.

CSP public affairs and policy manager Kenryck Lloyd-Jones shared a panel with Eileen McKenna of the Royal College of Nurses, Laura Wilson of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Michael Matheson MSP, Scottish government cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care.

The fringe event, titled ‘A health and care workforce fit for the future’ explored the workforce challenges facing health and social care in Scotland in workforce planning, recruitment and retention.

Mr Lloyd-Jones made the case that with record high vacancy rates (averaging over 10 per cent in Scotland) impacting on staff and services the demand for more physiotherapists in the NHS workforce has never been greater.

While many other health professions struggle to fill training places, only seven per cent of the hundreds of university applicants are being accepted onto undergraduate physiotherapy training places, leaving considerable scope to expand the supply of qualified physiotherapists.   

The cabinet secretary agreed that long-term strategic thinking was necessary to ensure sustainability, and that it would also be necessary to look to new models of service. In particular, the opportunity for apprenticeship style ‘earn and learn’ routes both to diversify the workforce and support remote and rural recruitment and retention.

Kenryck said it had been: A very constructive event at which we found many points of agreement with the cabinet secretary and stakeholder partners.

We now look to press home our concerns that a funded expansion of training places is necessary and that more physiotherapists are needed throughout the health service

A human right to rehab  

CSP at the SNP conference 2023
Right to Rehab Coalition spokespersons, (left to right) Donna Wynne CSP Scottish Board (chair), Joanne Graham - CHSS, Gareth Brown - Asthma and Lung UK, Katie MacGregor - Stroke Association, Emma Harper MSP 

The CSP also joined fellow organisations as the Right to Rehab Coalition for Scotland held a fringe event in support of the adoption of access to rehabilitation as a human right in Scottish law.

As the Scottish government consults on the inclusion of international human rights into legislation, campaigners from the coalition affirmed that the right to health must sit alongside the right to rehabilitation.

CSP Scottish Board chair Donna Wynne said: 'Health professional bodies and the third sector in Scotland are speaking with one voice to say there can be no right to health without a right to rehabilitation. I was very pleased to represent the Society in joining that call’.

CSP members are urged to support the #righttorehab petition.

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