CSP-Sue-Browning-v3by Sue Browning, Deputy CEO, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

The scale of the challenge presented by how we are going to pay for care in the future is daunting. Adults with long-term and multiple conditions and disabilities are living longer, but according to the recent National Audit Office report1, the older adults social care budget has experienced the greatest reduction over recent years – 12% in real terms. Given that the age group of adults aged 85+, the group most likely to need care, is rising faster than the population as a whole, we know that something has to change. Collectively, we do provide a major part of the solution but we need to get decision makers to think differently. So now must be the time for the musculoskeletal community to unite to press the case locally for services which prevent deterioration and improve physical, mental health and wellbeing, encourage supported self-management and build people’s confidence, independence and life chances.     

Last year, I attended a meeting of social care managers at the Department of Health where all the talk was of supporting people though appropriate care packages.  Important that this is, it brought home the important role of reversing dependence and developing resilience to improve quality of life. It makes sense on so many fronts for this to be a better starting point.  By reframing thinking to focus on supporting individuals to reach or maintain their full potential, so many more people will be able to maintain independently healthy lives, preventing unnecessary and inappropriate long term care.

We recently invited the Minister for Care & Support, Norman Lamb MP, to visit the excellent falls prevention service in Westminster. Seeing people regain their strength and balance, was a really valuable reminder of how important prevention activities are to an individual’s quality of life and the future of health and social care. Above all though, these people left the class feeling more confident in their ability to live life. 

Here at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, we recognise that we are at a pivotal moment in the history of health and social care. We recognise that physiotherapy plays a critical role in restoring mobility and function to enable people to live independently in their own homes, reducing the need for health and social care support.  So we are just embarking on a major Programme focussed on ‘Living Longer, Living Well.’  We know that we can’t achieve this on our own.

With so many people searching for the solution to the future care bill, we are keen to use this moment to press our case.  Our priority will be to build understanding amongst decision makers of the value of intervening early, both to the individual but also to generate the required savings in social and residential care. Our broad musculoskeletal agenda translates well to this, with the ARMA MSK clinical network potentially having an important role in helping us deliver this in the future.  Just think of the impact we could have locally by uniting our voice.

1 ‘Adult social care in England: overview’ (ref: HC 1102).

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