Lack of rise in physio training places will affect workforce supply in Northern Ireland, CSP warns

The CSP has responded to the Department of Health’s announcement that undergraduate training places in Northern Ireland will be maintained at the same level as 2023/24 - warning that the decision will lead to a workforce shortage.


As Northern Ireland braces for the repercussions of stagnant undergraduate training opportunities, the CSP has expressed grave concern over the inevitable exodus of aspiring healthcare professionals seeking education elsewhere.

This trend poses a challenge in enticing them back, exacerbating the strain on an already overburdened healthcare system. 

Claire Ronald, CSP senior negotiating officer, said: 'The ramifications of this decision extend far beyond the educational realm.  

With fewer local students pursuing careers in vital healthcare disciplines, Northern Ireland faces a shortage of qualified professionals to meet the demands of its healthcare sector

'This shortage will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the delivery of healthcare services, affecting patient care, access to treatments, and the overall efficiency of the healthcare system.'

This decision will also have serious implications for the Department of Health’s transformation and modernisation programme, “Delivering Together”.

Transforming healthcare necessitates a robust and adequately trained workforce capable of addressing evolving patient and community needs. 

Invest in education and training

The CSP is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to prioritise investment in education and training programs, to ensure an ample supply of undergraduate places in critical healthcare disciplines.  

Incentives should be implemented to encourage students to pursue healthcare careers within the region, fostering a sense of commitment and belonging to local communities.

With vacancy rates for physiotherapists already running in excess of 10 per cent regionally this decision will only exacerbate that situation.   

Efforts to attract back those who have pursued education elsewhere must be intensified, offering incentives and opportunities for professional development and advancement within the local healthcare sector.   

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