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Advice line: Are you covered? Insurance advice from the CSP

Pip White unpicks what cover is provided to CSP members who go to work in conflict zones or give first aid when someone unexpectedly falls ill.

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Members are increasingly offering their valuable skills in more challenging environments, and now is a good time to reflect on what the CSP professional and public liability insurance (PLI) package offers to members.

The CSP PLI scheme provides cover for an individual’s medical malpractice, professional indemnity and public liabilities, for all activities within the scope of physiotherapy practice. Members must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, and other terms and conditions apply.

Members who travel to war and conflict zones to deliver physio services are covered for up to 180 days for their work, subject to the usual policy terms and geographical limits (members have delivered valuable physio expertise in Gaza, Turkey and Syria in the past).

The scheme also provides cover for ‘good Samaritan’ acts. These are unplanned, chance encounters with individuals and are defined as the sudden and unexpected rendering of assistance in an emergency situation. You can choose whether or not to respond, and you are not obliged to do so. The good Samaritan act must be related to physiotherapy activity and might include giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation and/or immediate first aid and assistance before more expert help arrives.

Working as a humanitarian aid worker is not covered by the CSP PLI scheme. This work may involve providing supplies of food, water, shelter and medicines, as well as programmes aimed at infection control, such as HIV and Ebola. While clearly aimed at providing emergency relief, this work is planned and coordinated in advance by aid agencies, so it is not classed as a Good Samaritan act. Neither is this type of work considered to be directly related to the provision of physio services.

Members can choose to undertake humanitarian work, but should check certain things first. Find out what indemnity the aid agency offers and whether you have appropriate travel and medical insurance, for example, especially if you are going to a defined conflict zone. For more information see here.

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