Meaningful Empowerment of the therapy professional entails having sufficient and effective delegate authority to control and manage necessary resources, to take responsibility for outcomes, service developments and improvements. This control may be delegated by the employing organisation, or it may be inherent from one’s position of being a private practitioner. Being empowered involves being enabled to create opportunities were they don’t exist and realising opportunities that present themselves. Inevitably having that kind of autonomy entails taking responsibility for the rationing and rationalising of our services and to manage scarce resources in line with prevailing priorities of the most relevant stakeholders (i.e. the patient) in collaboration and negotiation with other stakeholders such as the commissioners of our services, health insurers, senior colleagues and managers. In other words having autonomy or control does not mean having the freedom to decide what you want to do. It can’t and doesn’t because there are many stakeholders and healthcare is too complex for simplistic perceptions to apply. I will explore this in more depth later.
If this concept feels alien or uncomfortable: PA is not a comfort blanket to help us to feel better about our own position or identity. I argue that PA as a concept and is nothing, unless and until it is the consequence of being empowered to do what is in the interest of your patients and service and the future of your service, by your employing organisation and those who refer to you or pay for your professional services as a therapist.