Concerns over lack of Government’s Strategy on Physio Workforce
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy warns visa restrictions and Brexit will increase pressure on the NHS
The government have been accused of disregarding the development of a strong and coherent strategy for the physiotherapy workforce. The CSP have warned that due to the unpredictability of Brexit and the recent visa restrictions, there will be more workforce pressure on the NHS, causing longer waiting times for patients.
The new changes to work visas have seen an increase of the minimum salary that is required for overseas workers to remain working in the UK long term – 13% of HCPC registered physiotherapists are foreign. The salary level has now been set at £35,000 which is more than most frontline physiotherapists can earn in the NHS.
The CSP wrote to the Home Office in March to address this issue, highlighting the impact of the immigration policies in both the independent sectors and the NHS. However, the Home Office responded to the CSP, avoiding the visa concerns and refusing to give any guarantees to European physiotherapists post-Brexit.
Rob Yeldham, director of strategy, policy & engagement at Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said:
“The reality is that many services are finding it difficult to recruit physiotherapists and if overseas physiotherapists are forced out then patients will face longer waits.
“There does not appear to be any coherent strategy here and the Home Office should change its policy on visas and give assurances to healthcare professionals from Europe as a matter of urgency.”
Along with other unions, professional bodies and employers’ organisations, the CSP is working to promote overseas employee rights as part of the Cavendish Coalition and through working with the Trades Union Congress.