WCPT will be holding congresses more frequently under plans designed to make the world’s most important physical therapy event more accessible to all the Confederation’s members.
WCPT’s Executive Committee is making the announcement after two years of study. Since its establishment in 1951, WCPT has held congresses every four years, but the Executive Committee believes that a two-year interval between congresses will enable today’s Confederation to better fulfill its objectives, serve its member organisations and move the profession forward globally.
“We’re very excited about the change,” said Marilyn Moffat, WCPT President. “In a world where clinical and professional knowledge advances so fast, it will give physical therapists around the world more opportunity for regular information exchange and learning. It will also mean that twice as many WCPT member organisations will have the opportunity to host a congress and create visibility and opportunity for the profession in their country and region.”
Most of the 16 WCPT congresses held since the first in London in 1953 have been held in areas of high population to ensure high attendance and financial stability. Given the growth of WCPT, the Executive Committee believes that the congress needs to be more accessible to a greater proportion of its members. It has listened to the views of many member organisations in taking this decision.
“Today WCPT represents a very diverse and geographically spread membership,” said Marilyn Moffat. “Many physical therapists simply do not have the resources or time to travel large distances to a WCPT Congress. Holding a congress every two years increases the likelihood that there will be a location that is reachable and affordable for all. This in turn will increase the rate of learning and knowledge transfer in the profession globally.”
Under the new proposals, congresses may alternate between locations which attract good numbers and those where large numbers cannot be guaranteed but there is a clear case for hosting the congress on professional grounds. “In this way, we believe we can better meet the needs of members,” said Marilyn Moffat. “Of course, the financial stability of WCPT is also on our minds, and we believe this new pattern will result in a more stable foundation for the Confederation.”
The change will start immediately, meaning that after the 2015 congress in Singapore another will be held in 2017 and then another in 2019. Work has now begun on planning the 2017 congress – and because the extra congress interrupts the normal four-yearly congress bidding process, the Executive Committee is considering possible venues on the basis of feasible past bids. The call for proposals for 2019 is about to be sent out.
“Most other international professional associations hold more frequent congresses than WCPT,” said Margot Skinner, WCPT Executive Committee member from the Asia Western Pacific Region. “In coming to this decision, we’ve collected evidence and conducted detailed analyses of risks and benefits. A biennial congress makes financial and strategic sense for WCPT, and allows us to fulfill our objectives more effectively.”