Tackle service pressures by expanding physiotherapy workforce, CSP tells government

This is one of the key messages that the CSP has conveyed in a series of recommendations to government on how to improve the recruitment, training and retention of registered physiotherapists and physiotherapy support workers.

The recommendations were made as part of a CSP submission to a health and social services select committee inquiry into the recruitment, training and retention of health and social services staff.

They include a call for an expansion of Band 5 positions, which could be activated by new physio registrants being offered five-year NHS contracts.

In its evidence, the CSP also calls for the retention of NHS physiotherapy staff to be improved by using their full potential and providing continued opportunities for their continued development.

CSP Policy Manager Rachel Newton said:

NHS England should capitalize on the growth in the number of physiotherapy graduates and the opportunity to increase the number of support workers, and create a career path for registered and unregistered workers

“Investing in the development of physios and physiotherapy support workers is key to delivering on the commitments NHS England has made to the public in the long-term plan. But it’s also a key factor in improving staff retention, a growing problem in physiotherapy now on par with nursing.

“The biggest movement of physiotherapists out of the NHS is at the start of people’s careers. This speaks volumes about the limited opportunities for progression, especially for those wishing to work in the community, where the system desperately needs more experienced physiotherapy personnel. .

“Tackling this and many other issues that lead to physiotherapy staff retention issues, such as compensation, different forms of discrimination, overwork and staff burnout, will help make in the face of staff shortages, supporting well-being and providing equal treatment at work for staff.

Set minimum goals for the AHP workforce


The Society’s submission to the survey also highlights that, while national workforce goals exist for nurses and doctors, no such goals have yet been set for workforce growth. AHP workforce, other than in primary care through the Additional Roles Program.

The only workforce target for physiotherapy is for the additional 5000 MSK physiotherapists to work in primary care in FCP roles by 2023 and this is compromised by the overall physiotherapy workforce shortfall and lack of a development pipeline.

Accordingly, the CSP recommended the setting of targets for a minimum Allied Health Workforce (AHP) for the next iteration of the People Plan, for both the registered and unregistered workforce. .

Other key CSP recommendations called for:

  • Build on local AHP workforce plans currently being developed to ensure this happens annually and directly integrated into workforce planning, with AHP representation at the board level to ensure this happens
  • Accelerate the time from new qualification to readiness to transition into advanced clinical practice and first contact Physio roles by investing in the ongoing professional development of the workforce
  • CSP’s full submission to the survey is available here

Michael A. Bynum