A recent review of Peter Limbrick's new book made me think about some of the anxieties many of us are now feeling about the slow bleeding out of publicly-funded healthcare, and what it might mean for the future of professions like physiotherapy. A full review of the book, titled Caring activism: a 21st century concept of care. A proposal for citizens to join together to support vulnerable children, teenagers, adults and elderly people, can be read here, but what particularly struck me were these two opening paragraphs; Peter Limbrick’s Caring Activism argues the case for what he calls ‘a new concept of care I am proposing for vulnerable people in this 21st Century’ (13). Limbrick identifies that some countries are experiencing reductions in funds for public services while numbers of vulnerable people continue to rise. In the United … [Read more...] about The case for ‘caring activism’
One of the biggest dilemmas facing the physiotherapy profession today is how to keep it alive. Given the unrelenting pressures to reform, cut costs, and redesign practice, it's hard to know whether to push the profession's stability, history and established culture, or to promote a radical new professional image. And faced with healthcare innovations that seem to be dissolving old certainties, it's hard to know whether we like it or not. Imagine, for instance, that robots were shown to be more reliable manipulators than physios, or that a low-cost assistant could do the work of post-op respiratory physiotherapy just as well as an expensively trained clinician. Would we promote it? In some instances, like this recent trial by a 'short-stay rehab unit based at a Nottingham care home' that 'managed to cut 90-day hospital … [Read more...] about Should we give up physiotherapy?
For a long time now, physiotherapy practice has been becoming increasingly pressured, with less time to spend with clients, tighter regulations about the number of appointments, and unrelenting pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our interventions. Where once patients would be in our hands for long enough to enjoy a modicum of rehabilitation or respite, now the emphasis is on the shortest possible contact necessary to cut the cost of care. I'm not suggesting that there's anything wrong with efficiency, independence and autonomy per se (well, I am, but that's for another day), and I'm well aware that the kinds of long-term care experienced by people under the 'old' welfare state was anything but arcadian, but I do believe that the net effect of our present health care reforms is resulting in some very bad … [Read more...] about Slow physiotherapy
Thank you to everyone who responded to our last post on 10 reasons to love physiotherapy (link). These are strange and unsettling times, and it helps sometimes to be reminded of the good things that we do. This post follows on from last week's, asking the question whether there anyone better placed to take advantage of the changing face of healthcare than physiotherapists. Physiotherapists can sometimes forget how perfectly their skills and abilities line up with what people will want in the future, and we have perhaps been our own worst enemies in ignoring or minimising the power of some of these things in the past. So ask yourself this*: Are doctors better placed than physios to be at the heart of future healthcare? Doctors are orthodox health professionals and our primary diagnosticians, but their focus is on the body's … [Read more...] about Is there anyone better placed than a physio?
Firstly, a very happy New Year to you one and all. Here's hoping you had a restful and peaceful break and you are looking forward to happy and rewarding 2017. The New Year has unfortunately arrived with the latest saga in the slow exsanguination of the UK's National Health Service. Over the last few days, the Red Cross - an entirely apolitical organisation it should be remembered - has announced that the public healthcare system in the UK is experiencing a "humanitarian crisis" (link), a comment fully endorsed by the British Medical Association but fiercely rejected by Prime Minister Theresa May (link). Whilst it would be wrong to put all the blame for the current crisis on the present government, the ruling Conservative Party have done little to slow the 'progress' made by previous governments - Conservative and Labour - in … [Read more...] about The NHS in crisis
An Australian senator claimed a few days ago that one-third of all pensioners in Australia were living in poverty. If this is correct, it is a shocking statistic for a developed country like Australia, and a wake up call for professions like physiotherapy, which needs to have a voice in the discussion about the future of aged care. The Australian online journal The Conversation checked the claims made by Senator Jacqui Lambie, and agreed with her assertion, citing a 'widely reported OECD Study - Pensions at a Glance 2015' which showed that, 'According to the latest available figures, poverty rates of people aged over 65 were very high in Korea (50%), Australia (34%), and Mexico (27%). In contrast, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have the lowest poverty rates: 2% and 3% respectively' (link). In an interview in The … [Read more...] about Physiotherapy and the poverty of aged care
Here is the new announcement for a highly recommended conference if you are interested in critical and radical thinking in healthcare. Apologies for what looks like egregious self-publicity. Click on the image below to navigate to the ISIH conference website. … [Read more...] about In Sickness and In Health Conference – Sydney 18-20 May 2017