Training of physiotherapists

Tue, Jun 5, 2012, 01:00

Sir, – Minister for Health Dr James Reilly was quoted in an article entitled “Call for physio internships to be included in JobBridge” (HealthPlus, May 22nd) as saying “physiotherapists have no experience working outside of their training and they really need another year either in a hospital or with a private practice”.

We would like to bring to your attention that this is factually incorrect. On being awarded a BSc honours degree in physiotherapy, graduates are eligible to apply for membership of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, which then allows them to use the title chartered physiotherapist. This means they have achieved the required international standards of clinical competency and academic achievement to be autonomous physiotherapy practitioners in all healthcare settings. Physiotherapy graduates do begin employment in hospitals and primary care when there are positions available.

Prior to the embargo on recruitment in the HSE, all graduates who wished to begin employment in the health sector in Ireland went straight into positions in the HSE. The implication, intended or otherwise, that the four-year BSc physiotherapy programmes in Ireland do not meet international practice standards is erroneous. Physiotherapy graduates from these programmes enjoy a very high reputation worldwide and attract international interest and collaboration. It is also demoralising for these graduates, who are among the most academically able in the country, to read, incorrectly, that the education they have received and the standards they have achieved are not fully acknowledged or recognised.

As quoted in Martin Wall’s article, there is a shortage of physiotherapists working in the community. These highly skilled and academically able graduates have the requisite clinical skills and academic ability to assist in driving forward the healthcare agenda.

It is a sad reflection on the health system that there are people in need of physiotherapy while a large percentage of these highly qualified graduates are unemployed due to the recruitment embargo that exists in the public sector. – Yours, etc,

Dr AMANDA CONNELL,

University of Limerick;

Prof MARIE GUIDON,

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland;

Dr DEIRDRE HURLEY-OSING,

University College Dublin;

Dr JULIETTE HUSSEY,

Trinity College Dublin.