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Advocacy & EU

Advocacy: Legislative progress & Policy making

Advocacy is a key issue for physiotherapists around the world. “The better we do it, the better we serve the communities who need us".

Member Organisations (MOs) of the Europe Region of World Physiotherapy are critical in creating the proactive approach to uphold the professional standards to address patients/clients needs. In order to implement these changes within the physiotherapy profession the MO’s of the Europe Region of World Physiotherapy have to engage into pursing advocacy strategies.

Advocacy: Action to try and transform “What is in” and “what should be” driving a particular idea, such as the need to establish a policy or law as public advocates and citizens.

Lobbying: Employing persons to influence legislators to sponsor laws that further one's own interest or inhibit those of one's opponents.

Stating your position on specific legislation to legislators or other government employees who participate in the formulation of legislation or urge your members to do so (direct lobbying).

“Advocacy is a planned process for influencing people, to achieve a specific outcome – most obviously, the process of getting decision-makers to make a policy or practice change. But advocacy might also be about changing individuals’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.”
The Europe Region of World Physiotherapy

Professional organisations and associations are critical for generating the energy, flow of ideas, and proactive work needed to maintain a healthy profession that advocates for the needs of its patients/clients and professionals, and the trust of society (Matthews, 2012).

Why are advocacy measures for the physiotherapy profession needed?

  • To inform and make sure physiotherapists are currently and appropriate recognised for the services provided to individuals.

  • To inform and make sure that the physiotherapy workforce is addressing population needs to promote, maintain, develop and restore health, maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan.

  • To ensure the scope of physiotherapy practice is dynamic and responsive to patients and society health needs.

  • At a national level, physiotherapy associations (Member Organisations) should be responsible for defining physiotherapy and physiotherapists’ roles relevant to their country health service, delivery needs, ensuring that they are consistent and aligned with accepted international and European guidelines set out by World Physiotherapy, the Europe Region of World Physiotherapy and their Member Organisations (MOs).

Advocacy Strategy Principles:                                      

  • Change objectives / Evidence.

  • Change targets.

  • Change levers.

  • Partners.

  • Opponents.

  • Variables.

  • Risks.

Key issues to define an advocacy strategy:

  • Assess the value of your advocacy purpose on the target (patients/clients/professionals).

  • Consider the type of health system in which your organisation (MO) is operating (universal coverage, public, private, insurance, mixed system).

  • Stakeholders that would be addressed in the advocacy measure (politicians, patient’s organizations, trade unions and voluntary organizations).

  • Position of the physiotherapists within the health system and how are they considered by other health professionals and public.

  • Content of the message to advocate supported by evidence based approach.

  • How to measure the impact of your actions on the target (patients/clients/professionals).

Participation - Formulate:



1) Plan & Objectives
2) Develop a Strategy: Resources, Timetable & Communication
3) Evaluation

Decide an outcome

Environmental scan

Device the strategy

Read our document:

European Union

Healthcare is highly labour intensive and one of the largest economic sectors in the EU – accounting for around 17 million jobs (8% of all jobs). Ageing populations and rising demand will ensure that the healthcare sector remains a key driver for jobs in the future.

Despite this, the sector faces major challenges:

  • An aging workforce and too few new recruits to replace retirees.

  • Significant employee turnover in some fields due to demanding working conditions and relatively low pay.

  • The need for new skills to deal with innovative technologies and with the rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease among the elderly.

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