BHB has agreed to provide funding of £30,000 to ensure that the “Flying Physio” service remains available in 2006 at those 14 racecourses from which the Injured Jockeys’ Fund will be withdrawing its contribution at the end of 2005.
In doing so, the Board has also agreed to set up a new Welfare Working Party to look into all aspects of welfare provision for the people who participate in British Racing and to make appropriate recommendations.
BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said: “In 2003, BHB formed a Jockeys’ Welfare Working Party to look into issues such as jockeys’ medical insurance and the provision of services such as nutritionists and physiotherapists. However, in practice, discussions were dominated by the question of the ongoing funding of the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme (PRIS) and it is only this year that PRIS issues have been resolved.
“The time has now come to look again properly at welfare matters, but not just for jockeys. The sport requires a cohesive, industry-wide policy regarding the provision of essential services but at present these issues are looked at piecemeal.
“As far as the Flying Physio service is concerned, BHB appreciates that the IJF wishes to ensure that its funding is directed more closely to its publicised objectives. Racing is very grateful to the IJF for playing a pivotal role in funding such an important service for jockeys and the Board took the view that, in the absence of any other clear source of support to replace the IJF, it was appropriate to make up the shortfall for 2006.
“The Working Party will address the question of funding for the ongoing provision of welfare services. It will take into account the recommendation of the Jockeys’ Working Schedules Review Group that funding should be available to ensure the continuance of the on-course dietary service as well as the Flying Physio scheme.”
John Blake, Chief Executive of the JAGB, said: “The Flying Physios Scheme has made an enormous contribution to the working lives of our jockeys and has benefited racing as a whole. We welcome BHB’s involvement in supporting this Scheme and intend to work with them to expand the service and safeguard its future. Special thanks must go to the IJF and the small team of physios, who do such a professional job, often under difficult conditions.”
Jeremy Richardson, Chief Executive of the IJF and a member of the Jockeys’ Welfare Working Party, welcomed BHB’s action. He said: “The IJF is pleased that its initiative has been taken up not just by BHB but by the 17 leading racecourses who have already agreed to provide a regular physio service. The prompt treatment of injured jockeys undoubtedly reduces the risk of long-term injury. BHB’s initiative will help to ensure that racing follows other leading sports in having specialised physiotherapists available for its sportsmen and women, especially the many jump jockeys who suffer injury from constant falls.”