CSP support worker film image

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has launched a new film in coordination with Health Education England to showcase the valuable contribution of the physiotherapy support workforce to the profession.

Called ‘Thinking Differently About Support Workers’, the short film features several support workers and their colleagues, and aims to promote the valuable role that support workers fulfil within therapy teams and the services that they deliver to patients.

It also tackles some of the common myths about support roles and highlights the benefits of support worker recruitment and development.

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The film shows physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals the benefits of having support workers in their teams, which include:

  • the opportunity to expand workforce and safely meet patient needs
  • free up physiotherapists to work with more complex patients
  • expand the skills base of teams by valuing support workers and encouraging them to progress in their career and take on more responsibility
  • adapt to the additional demands generated by the pandemic

Watch the short film below:

Claire Fordham, CSP Professional Adviser, said: “The impact of the support workforce on patient care and service productivity is unfortunately too often overlooked and misunderstood in workforce planning so the film aims to highlight the capability and skills of the physiotherapy support workforce.

“We encourage you to watch and share the film, and hope it will inspire you to consider how you deploy your support workforce, challenge assumptions about their capability and consider how you can support them to contribute more to patient care.”

Importantly, the film highlights that physiotherapy support workers have their own caseloads and see patients from triage. This involves seeing follow-up patients for rehabilitation classes on a one-to-one basis.

By seeing their own patients, physiotherapy support workers free up higher band physiotherapists’ time so that they can see the more complex patients, which results in more patients being seen in a timelier fashion.

In addition, when physiotherapy support workers are appropriately trained and have the right qualifications to deliver the rehabilitation and to develop a rapport with patients, they make up a key part of physiotherapy teams, the video emphasises.

The overall message is that by valuing support worker roles, capacity can be broadened to meet demands and the profession can progress its ambitions for the future of patient care.

The video also highlights the value of physiotherapy support workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As the physiotherapy workforce, along with all other aspects of health and social care, faced unprecedented demand, the film says that using physiotherapy support workers’ broad set of skills has been essential during the crisis.

This includes support workers going to patients’ homes during the pandemic to deliver their rehabilitation, demonstrating their flexibility and transferrable skills.

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