HeartUnions case study: having a voice

Ask not what your union can do for you, but what you can do with your union.

There are many ways to make sure your voice is heard. Lorraine Allchurch explains how you can make a difference by getting involved in focus groups.

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Lorraine Allchurch (left) with a colleague. Photo: John Harris

Lorraine Allchurch joined the CSP nine years ago when she stepped up from a band 3 therapy assistant role to a band 4 therapy practitioner.

Her varied roles at Russells Hall hospital in Dudley include assessing patients functionally if they are safe to return home and for mobility aids or other equipment needs they may have or if they are requiring a referral to have further rehabilitation.

‘I’m quite lucky because I can see patients holistically, assess equipment needs for all activities of daily living and provide suitable equipment as needed.’

Changing roles to be an autonomous practitioner meant deciding which trade union to join.

‘I wanted some allegiance to a union, to a professional body as well, which made me look towards the CSP, which is highly respected. That drew me to it.’

Lorraine explained: ‘I joined online after speaking with colleagues who were CSP members and who highly recommended it.’

She enjoyed taking part in an online survey in 2017 for associate members asking what training needs they would like from the CSP. This was followed by an invitation to join a focus group.

‘It was really nice to have a voice, to be listened to,’ Lorraine said.

‘It was run independently of the CSP so we could be open and honest.’ This led her to become part of another focus group, this time reviewing the society’s Annual Representative Conference.

‘Now I’m more involved it has made me more aware of the community of the CSP, for example joining the CSP on Twitter.

‘The more I’ve got involved with the staff at the CSP head office the more I’ve wanted to become involved with the union.’

Lorraine’s message to support workers who carry out physio duties but were not a member of a union:

‘Do not underestimate how much support workers are valued. The CSP has definitely showed me they value us and that they want our thoughts and hear our points.

‘Just because we’re not registered physiotherapists we shouldn’t devalue ourselves, we do valuable work and the CSP wants to recognise our work.’