Politics on Either Side of the Pond
I mentioned two weeks ago that Parliament was meeting to discuss the proposed changes to the NHS in light of outrage voiced by every professional body. There is now a "listening exercise" going on so that MPs (Ministers of Parliament, similar to American senators) can better understand what the public wants. The public has been very vocal, particularly in their voting.
The Liberal Democrats voted Labour in the last regional election to voice their dissatisfaction with Nick Clegg, their half of the coalition government, and his apparent support of the NHS changes. He has since become the biggest opponent of those changes. It has been reported now that the Minister of Health, Andrew Lansley, will be asked to step down. No, England is not happy with Prime Minister Cameron's plans to "Americanize" the NHS.
That said, I just read an article in the New York Times today about how physicians are dramatically changing the way they work and thus changing their political affiliations. Maine is highlighted in this article -- I wonder what trends are occurring in other states? How does this relate to PT? Let me explain...
When I entered the profession, one of the appealing things was the wide variety of venues PTs could work in. Historically, the APTA seems to favor one in particular - the private practice. The push for PTs to all have stand-alone practices goes back to the 90s when Marilyn Moffat began implementation of Jan Richardson's vision for the APTA. Anecdotally, I've heard PTs report that the APTA doesn't speak for them because they're not in private practice.
Nowhere in the Vision 2020 statement is there mention of being part of a health care team or the medical community at large. This is at a time when the evidence shows that best outcomes come from interdisciplinary teamwork. As I understand it, a remarkable breakthrough from last week's PT 2011 conference is that the Ohio and Massachusetts chapters have proposed RC 22-11 as a way to look beyond Vision 2020. They suggest looking at how PT fits into society as a whole and how to integrate it more holistically into the medical field. All the while, preserving the goal of autonomous practitioners. This sounds like a really good idea to me!
As for the benefits of stand-alone practicing, I know of a few PTs who have sold their practices because it has become impossible to make a living and still work in a way that is rewarding to them. It seems that Vision 2020 in its current form is preparing clinicians for a marketplace that no longer exists. I hope Ohio and Massachusetts get RC 22-11 passed. Otherwise the future of PT may be as disappointing and dangerous as flipping houses to turn a quick profit, another bad idea from the 90s.