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Call for action on ‘microaggressions’

Karen Middleton, Chief Executive - Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

A new campaign lifts the lid on a little-known, insidious form of racism and discrimination that physiotherapy staff say they face on a weekly basis.  

Using testimony from its members with disabilities, from ethnic minorities and from the LGBT+ community, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is calling for action on what are known as ‘microaggressions’.  

These statements or actions show negative attitudes towards members of marginalised groups, because of their ethnicity, sex, sexuality and disability, for example.  

CSP members report experiencing them on a weekly basis at work, from both patients and colleagues and describe the huge toll  it takes on them as being destructive, belittling and isolating. 

Despite this, the majority say they aren’t reporting them to their manager because they happen too often and because they didn’t believe any action would be taken. Some are even fearful that doing so would have a negative impact on their career.  

The CSP’s campaign includes information and advice to help support managers to take action and create a more inclusive workplace. The organisation has launched an online hub containing downloadable resources such as: 

  • Advice and guidance for managers on how to create an environment in which staff feel confident to report a microaggression 
  • resources to help equip organisations to tackle microaggression in the workplace
  • Personal stories which can educate staff on the impact of microaggressions 

Karen Middleton, Chief Executive at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, is urging all managers to get involved and support the new campaign.  She says: ‘I’m really proud we’ve launched this campaign. It offers something for everyone in terms of furthering your knowledge or developing as a manager. From a short video to in-depth reading, there are options to suit different workloads and simple ways to promote messaging to help create a profession known for its inclusivity and sense of belonging.” 

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