We are not a 'Mum's army'

June 21, 1996

Brian Williams (THES, June 14) fears the erosion of the established professions such as teaching, social work, probation service and architecture by the rise of the "neo-professions". For some time there has been concern among professional groups that employers (state or private) would prefer to have a less well-educated but cheaper professional than is currently available and so this report is of considerable interest.

Curiously Dr Williams cites the Professions Allied to Medicine (PAMs) alongside the "mum's army of auxiliary teachers" as an example of a neo-profession, yet it could be argued that these PAMs have longer professional histories than some of the groups they are supposed to be threatening.

Physiotherapy, the largest of the professions allied to medicine, celebrated its centenary some time ago, the first moves towards a professional body for chiropody occurred shortly after the turn of the century and the College of Occupational Therapists is 60 years old.

These are well established professional groups with highly developed programmes of degree/master's level education and the ability to undertake and evaluate research. It is regrettable that they should have been quoted as examples of the undesirable neo-professions.

Marion Trew

Head of department of occupational therapy and physiotherapy

University of Brighton

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