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3rd Physiotherapy Education Congress

Nov 08 - Nov 10
Vienna, Austria

Post congress report

The Chairman of the European Region of the WCPT, Sarah Bazin, welcomed all the delegates from the Member Organisations to the Post Congress Seminar related to the 3rd European Congress on Physiotherapy Education. A total of 36 delegates from 20 Members Organisations were present.

The Chairman presented to the meeting the aim of the post congress seminar as follows: To analyse the 3rd European Congress on Physiotherapy Education, held on 8 – 9 November 2012, in Vienna, Austria, and to discuss the implications for further work to be developed by the Working Groups of the European Region of the WCPT.

According to it the post congress was divided in three main parts:

1. Discussion in groups of the following items.
What was good about the 2012 Education Congress that you would like keep for the 2016 Education Congress?
What could have been improved in the Education Congress?
Which themes and topics would you wish to see covered in the 2016 Education Congress?
What actions are you going to implement in your country as a result of attending this congress?
What assistance might you require to achieve this?
2. Presentation of the reports from the discussion groups.
3. Which topics would you wish to be considered by ER-WCPT Working Groups?

After the presentation of the post congress’ structure, the delegates were divided into three discussion groups.

The discussion groups were chaired / moderated by:

Group 1 – Moderators: Elisabeth Eckerstorfe, S. Souto, and R. Craps
Group 2 – Moderators: Charlotte Hager-Ross and Antonio Lopes
Group 3 – Moderators: Helena Johnson and Sarah Bazin

Presentation of the reports from the discussion groups

Question A - What was good about the 2012 Education Congress that you would like keep for the 2016 Education Congress?


The mix between poster presentation and platform presentations.
To have e-slide presentations for posters.
Continue to build on good quality. To maintain good quality and increase for the 4th - less can be more! But need to keep the balance of participation of many different countries
Starting the day with plenary sessions, key notes was really good, though (?) provoking,
Good themes and good mixture of the topics that were of interest for many, not just for the educators but also clinicians, employers etc. but could perhaps be improved even more.
To cover all education aspects as well as CPD and translation of research into practice.
To understand what is going on in other countries, interesting for a new country
Topics related to quality and research were good. Topics on specialisation were very good
Putting education in a broader context (research) came through very well. Good content and organisation. Valuable panel discussion sessions.
Lively and active participation in presentations.
Student presentations really strong. Good number of participants.
Good choice of sessions – but sometimes difficult to choose


Very valuable was the students’ involvement, the welcome reception the evening before, and the signposts in the station, bus stops, tram. Very helpful staff,
The setting was beautiful and the organization was really good in general.
The coffee breaks were amazingly good.
The first lunch was difficult, but the second day it worked well.
Good access to the AT website.
Timing very good. Lengths of sessions were good.
Bell ringing to call delegates to sessions
Good big hall, screens, knowledge bag to take the message forward
Printed program
Easy registration in place and On-line registration was good
Good that everyone was in the same place
Liked being in a University rather that in a Congress Centre.

Question B – What could have been improved in the Education Congress?


Poster sessions needed more time / somewhere to put the display
Reduce the number of poster sessions.
Better to theme the posters (group them) – Education /practice / respiratory / CPD / etc.
Networking sessions per theme.
Less parallel, more about one topic. Group the topics better together.
Poster presentations need to be supported by 2 / 3 slides of PowerPoint
Not possible to ask questions during the poster presentations. Not enough time to ask questions when interested.
Timing should be improved and shown on the programme.
Keynote speakers – should be well known – Quality / Evidence based presentations. Disappointment from keynote speakers. More ideas were expected. Role of the keynote has to be defined.
Proposals for key note speakers for other MOs- out of Europe
Make stronger links between plenary and parallel sessions
More focus on implementation into practice. Lack of bridging theory in practice.
Give opportunity to have a global vision of all countries.
Less quantity, more quality. Some presentations were of a poor quality. This is not a promotion for PT.
Feedback sheet must be available during the congress.
Abstracts should be on line earlier or in a booklet in the bag.
When introducing the speakers, etc point out how the themes connect and interrelate. Make the bonds and the themes even more transparent.
Would be good with one or more forums for interaction between the students, teachers and others to discuss and learn together.
How would the knowledge from the keynote speakers implemented by people at home? There should be a direct discussion about implementations. It would be good to have some kind of forums to “follow up discussions” from the keynote lectures.


Overbooking of the hotel – delegates worked to another hotel – Only those who did not registered through the congress website
Distance to the University for some from their hotels
Transport for some – where to get off and getting used to it
Space between posters needs to be greater.
Disturbing others when moving between rooms
More interactive sessions – World Café / Discussion session
Need for cross-cutting themes about challenges (i.e. the journey of PT)
Parallel-sessions: time limit too sharp.
Detail of each session could be displayed on the door
Associations (MOs) need to have congress info on their website – MOs were asked to do it several times
Organise like the WCPT congress: all posters in the exhibition room, available during 2 days.
Difficult to see all the posters wanted since they were in different rooms, especially since the doors got locked during the slide presentations of the posters.
Lower level of English of some speakers and other times they spoke too fast.

Question C - Which themes and topics would you wish to see covered in the 2016 Education Congress in Liverpool?

Definitions on quality: make it more transparent in the planning how the topics are chosen and presented when the conference is planned.
Informatics and quality of care are important to the authorities! Present good examples.
How do students learn? The changes in social media are changing the way people learn. How do we ensure we meet the learning ends of all using different methods?
Quality of education and impact of education on practice at 5 years post qualifying.
The recognition of Life long learning – continue with this! Implementation! How can we do this in practice? Impact of learning (LLL) to enhance quality
E-portfolio! There is most likely going to be a strong technological development: to initiate and follow big debates internationally, social medias for this, (twitter, face books, e-connections.). But important to understand what is going on?
PT eRecords, EU standards, use of informatics (explore EU countries)
Good electronic base – physiotherapy record, standards of a country or a European standard!
Identify target groups clearly!
To strive in all sessions, themes, for more clear take home messages, practical knowledge and even tool boxes to use in our daily work whether we are educators, clinicians, professional body employees, employers, students. Things to try out at home! Identify them more clearly with speakers/chairs, etc. In the planning, we should try to have goals like that for the different topics.
Peer review process across nations, networking!
Autonomy as an important topic – corner stone, how do we prepare our students for autonomy, best practice examples, provide good examples. What are the elements of autonomy? Discuss also direct access/self referral but not link it too tightly.
Focus on autonomy and direct access using best practice examples from different countries underpinned by electronic patient records, e-learning, e-portfolio, linked to standards of informatics and at which level are they set
Raising the level of evidence of practice. If the specialization does not have an impact for the patient or the authorities, then it will not result in anything. How do we demonstrate this? Definition of a specialist? Complementary competencies! General practitioner – specialists - improved skills
Interactive workshops
Scientific Conference, scientific base, translation into evidence based practice, and implementation of learning, demonstrating the impact of learning in practice.
Organised debate / with vote - 2 hours in which each country can present what is in the Education System
What is included within Qualifying Programmes?
The teaching of teaching skills to undergraduates. What should be included in the undergraduate curriculum?
Theme: Follow up on education after 2- 5 years, are they satisfied – alumni studies!! There are such studies in the professional arena.
Cornerstone: prepare for autonomy
Cross themes for practical knowledge => try-out at home
Concrete calls for topics
Immigration/migration/multicultural issues – effects of migrations, benefits and challenges. Link between the education and for the future work in the field. Migration and the impact of shortage of some healthcare professions in some countries on regulation, education.
Raining levels of evidence of practice, specialisation (how to demonstrate the necessity and its effect?)
Let the students also evaluate the next congres
Give the change to new graduate students to evaluate the next congress (cf. the poster from Portugal presented and their written report that they will submit).
Involvement of highly specialised practitioners (including consultants) who are not necessary linked with HEIs. What is a specialist? Is there any definition that is agreed for Physiotherapy in ER-WCPT?

Question D - What actions are you going to implement in your country as a result of attending this congress?

Will put some information concerning the congress on the MOs website / written information
CPD information
Structure of courses
Clinical Educators Role
Posting information on Facebook to set up discussion
In Italy only – Master Degree – Also wish to increase BSc from 3 à 4 years
A problem over getting Qualifying Programmes to lead to recognition of Autonomy to practise.
Work on autonomy on every level, student level, professional level
Quality assessment, and in addition direct access, informatics (portfolio, developing the electronic arenas).
Raise the link between the education and the practitioners
Evidence of best practice, develop the research culture
Increase the students and physiotherapists understanding of cost effectiveness, moving to an insurance based system, independent prescribing, In practice, looking at the evidence of providing service in prevention, define specialization, opportunities
Continue the professional development into the private market, to ride on the private interest for fitness, identity, CONCEPT OF IDENTITY of physiotherapy to be raised for societal communication, perception role, describe and articulate, stability…)
Start e-portfolio, student-coaching app, working together with all the universities of applied science.

Question E – Which topics would you wish to be considered by ER-WCPT Working Groups?

EDU Working Group – What has to be included in the undergraduate programme to become automatically practical
EDU Working Group - Competences for Self-referral.
The majority of participants have a strong focus on developing the autonomy of the profession in their country and achieve direct access.
EDU Working Group - A little more on the Qualifications Framework
EU Matters Working Group because of the Crisis in Italy Autonomies in PP into Public System. – In Greece opposite 20 € - 12 €. To clarify
Build on the work already in place about specialists and specialisation and have a wider discussion
Looking at advanced practice, specialisation, shifting to more primary care => generic and advanced skills needed.
Build a clear identity for physiotherapists and identify new roles. - Issues about the future profession and its identity
Consider how countries can be supported that are not in the same development? Big differences. How can ER-WCPT support on PhD programs, research... (Concrete actions)
Unify standards
Differences in autonomy, levels of autonomy (make questionnaire)
ER-WCPT to find solutions to the problems in some countries who are in need
Sending letters to the Competent Authorities
CPD to cover the gap between graduation and the further professional development (linked to re-registration)
CPD as quality enhancement
Ask the MOs what kind of help they need in order to achieve more autonomy

Members of the Scientific Committee

  • John Xerri de Caro, Chair (Malta)

  • Beate Salchinger (Austria)

  • Eleni Kapreli (Greece)

  • Andrea Turolla (Italy)

  • Geert Verheyden (Belgium) – On behalf of Axxon – Member Organisation hosting the congress.                               

  • Bjorg Gudjonsdottir (Iceland) – On behalf of ENPHE – Collaborating with the Congress organiser  

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