- Unprecedented times
- Challenging situations
- The New Norm
These are all words and phrases that have been bandied about over the past 6 months during the coronavirus pandemic and almost become invisible to us now. But they summon up the situation that POGP has faced along with all other charities and professional organisations in the UK and around the world. We have been challenged with situations none of us could have anticipated or planned for and we had to make difficult decisions hopefully for the best of the membership and organisation in an often changing environment. What was the considered rule for one day could be very different by the next. We are all too aware that this national crisis may have improved but its certainly far from over. I would like to thank all of those people who work with POGP for their continued patience and understanding in these difficult times.
Nationally, POGP have been involved with helping the CSP guide their post-covid rehabilitation project, raising awareness of the impact the coronavirus can have on the bladder, bowel and pelvic floor, an oft ignored area of rehabilitation. At local levels, POGP members have supported each other in helping interpret new infection control advice, remote working and peer support. Individual members have produced and shared some brilliant patient information resources to improve patient advice when the usual method of imparting information has been restricted. One of the recent updates to membership perks was the free availability to download and print the patient information leaflets produced by POGP which was implemented prior to the pandemic but feedback from members has been very positive that this facility has been useful in supporting remote patient care.
This report covers the activity of the organisation for the years 2019 – 2020, the year 2019 that we changed our model of organisation to a CIO – a charitable incorporated organisation. This gave the organisation and its members improved financial security but more widely it resonates with the general public as a mark of excellence– our organisational processes accepted by the charities commission as demonstrating a certain level of quality under scrutiny.
As well as being a stand-alone charity, we remain a professional network of the CSP and are expected to not only represent professional integrity and excellence in the field of physiotherapy but to also align ourselves to the various pillars identified in the CSP strategic plan:
Build a thriving physiotherapy community
- POGP membership has increased over the past year from 861 members to 940 showing that more physiotherapists are interested in working within our specialism and are seeing the benefit of being part of a collective to help shape the profession and support each other.
- Our communications team under the chair of Lucia Berry are working to promote the specialism in the wider public arena, working with mainstream media, and supporting the CSP’s media and communications department. We have representation on various national collaborative projects helping influence the future of physiotherapy services. Through our involvement in national projects around First contact physiotherapy in Primary care, we are working towards making the specialism more accessible and available to patients
Maintain an effective and sustainable organisation
- By engaging the services of a qualified accountancy firm who oversee the financial activity of the organisation, we are ensuring that POGP remains financially stable. This continues to be a challenge during this pandemic, as our courses which are a main source of income had to be suspended for 6 months due to the restrictions on face to face activity. With a lot of hard work behind the scenes, those responsible for managing and delivering the POGP courses have developed a way of maintaining access to education and are rolling out the courses with new innovative ways of working. This has not been an easy process and is not always the way that would be previously measured as gold standard, but the flexible workforce has made possible that which had seemed impossible.
Support members in their professional and working lives
- POGP have made the patient information booklets free to download and print to all, thus supporting the advice that members need in their practice and at work. More patient information will be freely available on the new website giving access to evidenced based information to the public. Many thanks to the education subcommittee who have developed this resource. Despite the lockdown restrictions, the POGP course teams have continued to review and update the course’s content to provide the most up to date advice and education
In May 2019 the then executive committee met with a strategic planning facilitator for a full day examining the organisation’s current activity and how it can be improved and updated. One of the main weak areas was seen to be our on-line presence with the current website. As a microsite of the CSP we are very limited as to the functionality offered to us. When the site was initially set up it was seen as an improvement on the previous one, but as time has gone by and more of our daily activity in all aspects of our home and working life is performed on line it was seen that we needed to offer more to our membership and the public in the digital world. To this end, we have invested a significant amount of time and money to employ a website company to build a bespoke new website which will hopefully address many of the problems that have restricted members and visitors on the old site. Features will include a member only section where members will be able to manage their own membership data. The courses section will have an on-line booking facility and it will be possible to view some on-line course content on the website. There will be a searchable directory for the public to find a physio in their locality. There is a section for an on-line community for members to share resources and discussion, and a public section with relevant patient information. The POGP Journal has a section where researchers can access and purchase peer reviewed articles from the journal, which offers another opportunity to share our expertise to the wider academic community. The new site will be launched on 9th October at the AGM and I urge you all to access and use it. We would appreciate feedback and as with all new projects there may be some settling-in hiccups, but we hope that this investment of our volunteer’s time and POGP funds it will improve the experience for our membership. Many thanks to the website development team, the project manager Rebecca Bennett, and all the volunteer teams who have contributed towards providing the content to fill the site.
Aside from the new projects, the back room work of the subcommittees continues.
The Education subcommittee (ESC) oversees the applications for membership by portfolio. In the past year a new mentorship project has successfully supported 2 affiliate members to convert to full membership by submission of their portfolio, and a number of other members are currently working on their applications with some opting for mentorship support. This is an alternative way to recognising the specialism without having to complete either of the PGC University of Bradford courses, recognising that learning can be completed in different ways and experience gained in other areas can be acknowledged. Thank you to the ESC mentoring team for their hard work supporting this project. We have POGP representation on the national Advanced Clinical Practice credentials framework for Postpartum health project commissioned by Health Education England (HEE)and we hope to be able to influence the future of further education in this field.
The ESC oversees the short courses, co-ordinating the administrative processes of arranging venues, participants and tutors as well as promoting the courses, and overseeing the development of the course content along with the expertise of the course tutors. This year has seen a new study day on menopause developed in collaboration with Positive Pause and adapted recently to an on-line course delivery, a new experience for POGP. As mentioned earlier, this has been a more challenging year with the pandemic restrictions, but we are keen to see the reintroduction of learning under the POGP banner recommence this autumn. Thanks goes to Karen Armitage who co-ordinates the administration of the courses and during the rapidly changing environment of the initial days of the pandemic lockdown went above and beyond the call of duty.
Booklet development and sales are a visible showcase for POGP and are a resource used across the UK by members and other health care professionals as the standard and accurate information source. NHS Choices website uses these resources, and NHS England are directing GPs to use our booklets. The updating of some of the illustrations has been well received and have given the booklets a refreshed look. Going by the number of copyright requests to use the images, they are also appreciated by the membership.
The ESC also encompasses research. The research officer supports members in their research activities, and there have been several members this year who have benefitted from the Dame Josephine Barnes award, Virginia Rivers Bulkeley, Katy Megson, Bethan Hallier and Rachel Burnett. Application information can be found at the website and awards are allocated twice a year. Congratulations go to Shirley Bustard who is our research officer and is raising the profile of POGP at international level by being the IOPTWH newsletter editor. Shirley also co-ordinated the poster prizes this year, which unfortunately did not get the chance to be seen at conference but which you will have seen in your journal. Congratulations go to the prize winners Sally Reffold and Claire Brodie.
Many thanks go to Ruth Hawkes for her continued work chairing up this hard working and busy team
One of the continued bonuses of membership of POGP is the twice-yearly publication of the journal. There have been calls for this to be digitised but more members have expressed that they enjoy having the hard copy, and so we plan to continue with the printed version. Electronic versions of the articles along with extra copy can be found at the website. As mentioned above, the new website will have enhanced functionality for the journal to include purchasing of individual articles. As a peer reviewed publication, the journal is highly respected in the community and thanks go to the journal editors Gillian Campbell and Biljana Kennaway and their team for maintaining that quality and sourcing articles with a wide reach within the specialism. Thanks also goes to Andrew Wilson, Managing editor for his professional eye on the journal and for his hard work at increasing revenue by advertising. In a world of limited resources, he has been proactive at pursuing companies for their financial support.
It was with much regret in 2019 that we were unable to host our annual conference due to a lack of a conference organiser, but we were lucky that Debbie Plowman stepped up to co-ordinate the conference for 2020, only for the pandemic to halt those plans. Debbie was also instrumental in recruiting a new conference organising company after a tendering process and we have been very happy with the input and support given by WPEM. As with all conferences and meetings this year, we cannot meet face to face, but all plans are to host the conference in 2021 in York. Thanks go to our speakers and exhibitors for their understanding in this difficult time. After two years away it will be exciting to meet up again next year and I look forward to being at York. Because of not hosting a conference this year there was no recipient of the Marjorie Polden student award, but this will be advertised again in the spring for any student or newly qualified member of the CSP to attend conference at the pleasure of POGP. Our keynote speaker of the Margorie Polden talk has kindly agreed to transfer to next year.
POGP has an award which is given after nominations from the membership , the Anne Bird prize, and this year was awarded to Dr Ruth Jones.
Regionally, members are supported by their Area Representatives (AR) offering local meetings and peer support. This again has been challenged by the pandemic but a number of ARs have managed to arrange virtual meetings by Zoom or other platforms to continue that help and communication. Thanks go to Rachel Burnett for coordinating the AR team. The new website will have a dedicated section to the ARs so I urge you to look up your local POGP representative.
Aside from the subcommittees and board of trustees, POGP is involved with a number of collaborative projects supported by members. There are too many to identify them all. But as an example we are involved with a project “This Mum Can” aiming to support active women to continue to exercise safely during their pregnancy, The PEPPY directory directing women to appropriately trained physiotherapists for obstetric physiotherapy care, we have representation on the board of MASIC (Mothers with Anal Sphincter Injuries at Childbirth) and on the NHS England Maternity Transformation Programme to name a few. It is positive to see physiotherapy being recognised as essential to the development of these projects and to have the respect from our health and exercise colleagues.
None of the above work could be done without money as well as time, and the financial side of POGP has been monitored efficiently over the past three years by Jane Newman who will be stepping down this year. Thanks to Jane for helping to steer us though the minefield of finances and tax implications and who co-ordinated the recruitment of the accountants to manage and audit the money side of things. The financial report is separate to this one and is attached to your email.
POGP have also been awarded the first CSP grant to be made available to professional networks undertaking specific pieces of work in line with CSP corporate policy. POGP is one of the main stakeholders involved in the development of UK Clinical Guidance for best practice in the use of vaginal pessaries for pelvic organ prolapse. This project was initiated by POGP and the development group is chaired by member Kate Lough. The document will hopefully be out for consultation by November and launched at UKCS 2021.
All of the POGP activity could not happen without the co-ordinating work of the board of trustees. This is a group of a maximum of 12 members of POGP who hold full membership and perform their work in a volunteer capacity. They are voted into post by the membership at the AGM. This year we have 2 vacancies for new trustees and the announcement for volunteers was sent to all members by email in September. The name of the applicant is in your mailings and we welcome new people with new ideas to the board. This year’s AGM arrangements is different to previous and future processes as it is the first AGM since becoming a charity and therefore under Charities Commission rules all members of the board of trustees must resign and be re-elected. Full details of the rules can be found in the constitution which is published on the website. Here is the list of trustees for 2020
Any member, full or affiliate, may apply to be on the subcommittees. If you would be interested in shaping and supporting the organisation, then email firstname.lastname@example.org and your query will be passed to the relevant chair.
Finally, this is my last year as Chair, I have been in post for 4 years, 3 as usual tenure and I was co-opted for another year to support the transition to charitable status. It has been a pleasure and an honour to be chair, to have worn the ceremonial chains with illustrious names such as Anne Bird, Jill Mantle, Gill Brook and the other 17 past Chairs is very humbling. I am very proud of the work done to update the organisation in a digital manner: the availability of the booklets to download and print and the incredible new website which will provide a better on-line experience for all members and the public. I wish to thank the team who have worked with me over the years, without their hard work and support we could not be in the strong position that we are in the competitive market and high profile in physiotherapy. The new chair is chosen from within the trustees following a recognised process which is in the constitution and their name will be announced after the AGM. I will remain on the board of trustees as vice chair to support the new chair in their first year and I hope they have as positive an experience in the role as I have.
Chair of POGP
Attached are all the meeting papers
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