I have been sent a copy of Michael Faulkner's opinion piece (22 May, Insurance Times).

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy CSP is very committed to ensuring that its members offer their patients high quality treatment based on the best available evidence. The CSP's research and clinical effectiveness unit is currently producing guidelines regarding the physiotherapy management of whiplash associated disorders.

These guidelines make recommendations for best practice based on a systematic review of the current literature. The guidelines have to go through an extensive endorsement process and should be published April/May 2004.

They also highlight areas where evidence is lacking and which require further research. As suggested in the article, the guidelines may conclude that there is a need for further research into the effectiveness of physiotherapy in the treatment of whiplash injuries.

Historically, physiotherapy research has been severely underfunded and I was delighted that the article suggested that the insurance industry should financially support such essential research.

However, I was dismayed to learn that Medico-Legal Reporting has been developing a research project investigating the effectiveness of physiotherapy in collaboration with its network of GPs and epidemiologists, but does not appear to be involving physiotherapists.

I hope that you and Medico-Legal Reporting can see the potential benefits of involving physiotherapists in all stages of the research planning. We have a large network of physiotherapists highly skilled in research and clinicians with expert knowledge in relation to whiplash injuries.

If the proposed research by Medico-Legal Reporting is to go ahead I would be very keen to meet the relevant people to discuss ways in which the CSP and its members can be involved in such a project.

Dr Gabrielle Rankin
R&D officer
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

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