The end of another year is approaching, a time for balance and renewal.
For the Order of Physiotherapists, 2022 represents the first year of the mandate since the social bodies took office (14 December 2021) and has been marked by intense activity to create the conditions for the functioning of the organic structure and services of the Order.
We have consolidated the enrolment process, with the fundamental support of the Technical Admission Committee, made up of Physiotherapists with experience in assessment and curriculum development.
The Order, as the competent authority, maintained its commitment to complete the registration of all professionals exercising the profession in our country. We are pleased to see 2022 end with almost ten thousand registered members.
We carried out the emission and mailing of the Physiotherapist's professional identification cards, in card format, and the creation of identification vignettes. During this first year of our mandate, the Order also became responsible for issuing the European professional card.
We have created the Office of Studies and Planning, a stable structure, of consultative nature, led by physiotherapists with a research profile.
We also have a Member Support Office, which is developing conditions for the creation of partnerships and benefits, and has promoted the creation of a Social Solidarity Fund, which will come into effect next year, to provide support to physiotherapists in proven economic need.
Throughout this year, the Order worked on the development of the exercise regulations, which will include an update of the professional profile of the physiotherapist and, likewise, on the preparation of the code of ethics and disciplinary regulations, prepared by the Jurisdictional Council. The contributions and involvement of many colleagues were fundamental for these key instruments in the regulation of the professional practice, which will be opportunely placed in public consultation after their evaluation by the General Council.
At the international level, where the Order also assumes itself as the voice of the profession, we were accepted as members of the World Physiotherapy and the Region Europe, with effect from the beginning of 2023.
We are also involved in the project "European Common Training Framework" for Physiotherapists/Physiotherapy, with presence in three working groups of this initiative promoted by the French Order, with a view to the creation of a common European curricular structure, which facilitates recognition of training and, therefore, mobility. In terms of relationships with competent international authorities, the membership of EurHECA - European Health Competent Authorities and the beginning of institutional collaboration with the American Physiotherapy Association, the American Physical Therapy Association, should also be highlighted.
At a national level, we have developed our institutional relationship with other professional orders, entities and organizations with relevance for the development of the work of the Order in favour of physiotherapy and physiotherapists, examples of which are the Higher Education Institutions, the National Association of Young People in Physiotherapy, the Portuguese Association of Physiotherapists and the Union of Portuguese Physiotherapists.
It has been a busy year, with all the governing bodies fully exercising their statutory functions and there is, of course, still much to be done.
We believe, therefore, that the work we carry out on a daily basis will lead our Order to levels of modernity and to the overcoming of challenges.
The General Council has just approved the activities plan and budget proposed by the Direction, the latter with the favourable opinion of the Fiscal Council.
For 2023, the creation of a system of evaluation and accreditation of continuing and postgraduate training, the creation of the framework of specialisations and the preparation of elections for regional bodies are of particular importance. We will begin monthly meetings with the members of the Order, providing personalised advice, as part of the activities of the Member Support Office.
The dialogue with the new governmental team in the area of Health and other administrative authorities in this sector will be intensified, in order to consolidate the autonomy of management and the dignification of the professional practice of physiotherapists.
We will also continue to be present for the citizens, promoting the right to direct access to the care provided by physiotherapists.
Greater visibility will be given to initiatives to combat the usurpation of functions and other non-compliant situations in the exercise of the profession, in order to ensure that users receive physiotherapy care provided by qualified physiotherapists registered with the Order.
I only wish that the new year brings you the greatest personal and professional success and health, so that you may continue, with us, to work in the defence of the general interests of the users that seek care from Physiotherapists. Your individual contribution is decisive.
With esteem, I send a fraternal embrace to all,
President of the Portuguese Order of Physiotherapists