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ISPO 50th Anniversary - Let's Celebrate

This weekend it is 50 years since the ISPO was formed. The first charter was signed by 7- year old Ulla Anderson, a patient of Knud Jensen the Founder and 1st President. This clearly showed that the society has always considered the patient at the centre of its work. It was Professor George Murdoch, the 2nd President who is generally credited for introducing a multi-disciplinary approach to P&O rehabilitation and associated services, and the 3rd President, Anthony Staros, an engineer from USA famously said…….I didn't "get into" the assistive technology field; it grew up around me and I hung on to grow with it. This suggests the essence of ISPO – to respond to needs and develop P&O and AT services and expertise accordingly.

The ISPO has drafted a new Charter that represents current practice. It can be seen on the ISPO International website and I would invite all if you to sign it electronically after which you will be able to download a copy for your office. The names of all those who have already signed is shown on the website.

ISPO started with three national member societies (UK, USA and Nigeria). Today there are over 70 NMS with a membership in excess of 3000 across 100 countries. ISPO has a global presence and is generally considered to be the first “Go To” organisation for matters related to P&O internationally. ISPO works closely with the World Health Organisation with whom it has developed a special relationship. There is a Memorandum of Understanding with about 30 international organisations involved in all aspects of disability. The UK NMS has generally been one of the most active national societies in terms of membership and professional activities. We have been well represented internationally with four Past Presidents and now with David Constantine confirmed the next President elect. His appointment confirms that ISPO represents not only P & O but also aspects of Assistive Technology including wheelchairs (David is founder of the internationally renowned organisation Motivation).

ISPO endeavours to respond to the fast-moving developments driven by technology and innovation within our field. As an international organisation ISPO is acutely aware that access to high quality care and education remains inequitable. Demand for ISPO accreditation to underpin P & O programmes increases year on year across the globe with the development of standards designed to provide a “one world” approach to education and rehabilitation. Please do take time to look at the ISPO International website and read about the various activities and programmes taking place at an international level.

Covid has seen a total change in all activities and ISPO is responding and learning to engage with the membership and wider audience through the use of technology. This is a steep learning curve (for some more than others) but I’m sure digital communication will continue into the long term alongside more traditional forms of getting together at seminars and conferences.

To mark the 50th anniversary ISPO UK will be hosting a series of five webinars over the coming months. The first of these will take place on 3rd December, “Rebuilding Prosthetic & Orthotic Services Post Covid-19”. Details are available on the UK MS website and the event will be chaired by Carolyn Young, National Programme of Care Manager, NHSE & NHS Improvement.

Further webinars will explore a range of topics including; Recent Advances in Orthotics; Upper Limb Innovation; Interface Research. Dates and details will follow shortly. A focus of ISPO UK in the coming year is to increase engagement through a programme of activities with the development of multidisciplinary special interest groups, educational workshops and education in research. I encourage all members of ISPO UK MS to get involved and contribute wherever you can.

Collaborative work is underway with our colleagues in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The 2022 TIPS conference and ASM will be a joint collaborative event in the Netherlands as we head towards the 2023 World Congress in Stockholm.

Wishing all members of the ISPO UK MS a very happy 50th!

John Sullivan
Chairman, ISPO UK MS

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