So far all the posts have mainly been from doctors. with health librarians and one pharmacist also contributing. But today, we have another important perspective adding to my intention to try to paint the picture of the current health service in the Balearic Islands. Jose Mingorance, a physiotherapist working in Son Espases, has kindly let me publish a talk that he gave to an international Summer school held this July in the UIB ( University of the Balearic Islands). The topic of the summer school was “The impact of the economic crisis on health”, and his talk was entitled – “Physiotherpy and the crisis”. Thanks Jose for your timely and very interesting contribution.
“In this period of crisis in Spain, with an unemployment level of 6 million, there are many serious social problems such as those evicted from their homes, or the cuts in education and health. This economic crisis is profound and is seriously affecting physiotherapy, which has to bear the cuts and reduction of resources.
The future of physiotherapy is going through the generalization of its services in hospitals and health centres. With this in mind physiotherapists need to fight to improve health care assistance and also to try to improve the professional attention of physiotherapy.
I conducted a survey of 50 physiotherapists with the following questions:
1. Have you noticed a decrease in the number of patients and the resources used in physiotherapy?
90% – YEs, 10% – NO
2. Have they lowered the prices of each physiotherapy session due to the crisis?
82% – YES; 18% – NO
3. Have you received any help to conduct research and development?
4. Have you noticed an increase in the price of postgraduate courses?
100% – YES
5. Do you think it would be a good idea to create a union of physiotherapists that could create more cohesion amongst the profession?
25% – NO; 75% – YES
The feedback from the questions led to a series of conclusions:
We can see that in addition to the crisis the strong cuts in prices have also affected physiotherapy.
Another key aspect affecting us all in the current Spanish economic panorama is training and research; two key columns for physiotherapy. Today they are both undervalued and underrated. As a result of this lack of public and private investment there is hardly any research that is moving physiotherapy away from the area of R&D, which in previous years was opening up new areas and future work possibilities.
Prices for credits and enrolling on physiotherapy degrees, course and masters have greatly increased. This factor, along with the lowering of salaries and work days, makes it extremely difficult that future physiotherapists can reach the high level of knowledge and professionalism required.
In this difficult panorama, along with the yearly increase of newly prepared physiotherapists joining the job market, the only solution is to join forces and defend our position within society. We must raise the levels of awareness within society so that the general public understands that it is essential to invest more money and resources in physiotherapy.”