Prof Karen Middleton


Prof Karen Middleton


Karen Middleton CBE CSP Chief Executive

Before her appointment as CSP CEO, Karen was chief health professions officer,leading more than 80,000 physiotherapists and other allied health professionals in the NHS and other sectors.

Among other achievements in her former role, Karen led and completed a number of self-referral pilots for musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy. This work helped to pave the way for patient self-referral to become the optimum route into allied health profession services. She also led the work to enable physiotherapist and podiatrists to independently prescribe.

Karen is, of course, no stranger to the Society. She graduated in physiotherapy in London in the mid-1980s and has been a CSP member for almost 30 years. Indeed, she was a CSP steward for six years earlier in her career, actively representing the interests of physiotherapy staff in the NHS while working as a physiotherapist herself.

Since graduating, Karen has worked in a wide variety of clinical and managerial roles. She initially specialised in MSK before moving into rehabilitation and then becoming associate director of primary care in Tower Hamlets, east London in 1999, when she managed the community nursing workforce. From there she moved to the London Directorate for Health and Social Care as a primary care development manager. In 2003 she joined the Department of Health as allied health professions advisor before being appointed as chief health professions officer four years later.

Karen has raised the profile of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals by speaking at a range of national and international events. She led a range of programmes that modernised the careers of allied health professionals, using a competency-based approach to workforce development. In 2013, Karen was made a CSP Fellow for advancing the physiotherapy profession, developing leadership capacity and promoting professionalism, through her role as chief allied health professions officer at NHS England.

Karen is also a Fellow of the Society of Orthopaedic Medicine, and, in that capacity, has taught physiotherapists and GPs on a national and international basis. She gained an MA in consultation and the organisation: a psychoanalytical approach in 2006. Driven by a desire to improve patient care, Karen is convinced that physio staff are the ‘rehabilitationists’ of healthcare – skilled and influential practitioners who have a mission both to add ‘life to years’ and ‘years to life’.

All session by Prof Karen Middleton

  • Flemming218-Mar-2016

Lunchtime address.