Physiotherapy in the media – 2023 highlights

Physiotherapy featured regularly in the media during 2023, covering a range of topics from NHS strikes to clinical innovation and public advice. 

Coverage secured by the CSP’s press office ran across the major broadcasters and news outlets, ensuring the voice of the profession was heard. 

In the first few months of 2023, the focus was on NHS pay and pressuring the governments in Cardiff and London to come back to the table with a fair pay deal following progress made at the tail end of 2022 in Scotland.

The first day of strike action in England achieved enormous profile for the profession in January, with coverage appearing as the second top story on BBC Breakfast and the Today programme before featuring regularly throughout the day in bulletins on all news stations and in every major national newspaper. 

In February, Callum Higgins and Adam Morgan were interviewed on BBC Wales, ITV Wales and global radio about the pause to strike action following an improved offer from ministers.   

In total, the pay campaign across both countries resulted in around 4,000 pieces of coverage pushing our calls for fair pay.

In April, director or practice and development at the CSP Ash James was quoted in a BBC Science Focus article on theraguns. CSP member Ben Lombard shared his advice for anyone preparing to run a marathon in the Metro.  

During May, theHSJ published our survey findings on loss of rehab space, which is having a negative impact on patient care and the ability for physios to do their job. It is also increasing waiting times and the chance of readmission later on.

We called for the Government to recognise the scale and impact of this issue and commit to prioritising NHS rehabilitation services.  

In addition to this piece, an opinion piece from CSP chief executive Karen Middleton was published in HSJ providing further detail on the issue which is leading to dire consequences for patients, staff, and the healthcare system, and again calling for urgent action from the government to prioritise and restore rehab space.  

In Northern Ireland, CSP policy manager Tom Sullivan was interviewed by BBC Radio Foyle, BBCNI Radio Good Moring Ulster and BBCNI TV News warning of a reduction in the number of undergraduate training posts. 

Ash James featured on Talk TV responding to the record number of people signed off long-term sick.

During June, the Times covered theCSP-coordinated letter to the PM calling for an imminent release of workforce plan.

CSP assistant director Sara Hazzard penned a blog published by the Integrated Care Journal on why it’s time to reprioritise rehabilitation.  

Ash James was interviewed on Times Radio about the efficacy of massage guns and later in the month he went back on the radio to discuss sickness absence and talk about why the NHS workforce plan needs to recruit more physio staff. 

CSP member Lucy Macdonald was interviewedby the Independentregarding the impact tennis can have on your body, both good and bad. 

During July, the press team secured a real-life feature with the Press Association which uses a case study story to highlight the importance of physiotherapy.

The Regional Campaigns and Engagement team highlighted the potential impact of the planned closure of a much valued hydrotherapy pool in Orpington which was covered in various online outlets including This is local London.  

Ash James was interviewed by the Guardian on the topic of a new robotic massage device and on the benefits of Standing desks in the Times. Lucy Macdonald was interviewed about common tennis injuries and how to avoid them in the Independent.

During August, the announcement that there would be a vote on strike action for our members in Northern Ireland featured in the Belfast Telegraph and on BBC Ulster and BBC Foyle.

Following the news Elton John had suffered a fall, CSP member Sam Bhide was interviewed in the Telegraph on why people should strengthen their muscles, whatever their age. Sam also shared a tip on how brushing your teeth can lead to improved strength and balance in the inews.

During September, CSP policy manager for Scotland Kenryck Lloyd-Jones demanded every patient has a right to rehab in Scotland in the Neuro Times

The announcement that CSP members in Northern Ireland would be striking over pay was the second top story on BBC and featured on the Today Programme and in news bulletins throughout the day. It was also covered in various media outlets in Northern Ireland, such as the Irvine Times.

CSP member Bhanu Ramaswamy was interviewed about how to age well in the Guardian.

Sara Hazzard was interviewed by Health Service Journal about the importance of investing in rehabilitation services following an investigation which found the number of community beds per head of population varies more than 10 times between integrated care systems

We took our message about rehabilitation and workforce to the party conferences and an article was published in House magazine – the leading publication for MPs and peers – with our key asks of the government.

During October, Sara also spoke about a new initiative from Sussex MSK Partnership in the Health Service Journal which is providing person-centered care to patients and slashing waiting lists

The initiative was also covered by BBC online news and BBC South East who went along to film patients and staff at the ‘Community Appointment Day’ organised by Sussex MSK partnership.

Sara also discussed transforming rehabilitation services in England in the Integrated Care Journal.

Meanwhile, the CSP’s Ruth Ten-Hove contributed to an article in the BMJ about whether rehabilitation is a solution to hospital discharge delays.

During November, Kenryck Lloyd-Jones highlights the physio workforce shortage in the Herald and how the government needs to ensure the country has more by increasing graduate training places.

The CSP celebrated ‘Support Worker Awareness Week’ in the Integrated Care Journal by shining a spotlight on their important role and what needs to happen in the future to ensure there are more of them and they are getting the right support to flourish.

CSP member Uzo Ehiogu was interviewed in the Daily Mail about managing arthritic knee pain.

December brought with it a negative article about physiotherapy in the Mail on Sunday, based on a handful of negative experiences from patients when accessing NHS services. We responded to this with a letter that was published in the newspaper the following week.

Finally, Karen Middleton penned her last piece for the CSP in Healthcare Leader News where she discusses systemic issues within the NHS and whether physiotherapists might have the answer.

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