LE: What is this document for?
CS: The standards are designed to help support members in delivering safe and effective physiotherapy services. Members can use these standards to compare the components of their own service with the criteria in the standards. These have been agreed by CSP members.
The CSP first developed standards in this format in 2000 and they were updated in 2005.
LE: How do these ones differ from the 2005 version?
CS: These quality assurance standards reflect member feedback on the way they use the current standards.
Essentially they are updated standards that reflect contemporary physiotherapy services. There are also a number of other significant changes.
These include emphasising that the standards will help to ‘quality assure’ your service. We have also integrated the two separate documents – one looking at core and the other at service standards – into a single resource.
And now the standards apply to all CSP members, including qualified members, associate members and students.
We’ve also restructured the standards into 10 sections, including a new section on professional autonomy and accountability.
Members also told us that they only want to access individual sections at times and in a range of detail. So we’ve changed the way they access the standards.
They are available online as a PDF to download or as an interactive resource so they can be accessed in the detail required at any one time.
For example, from the standards you will find criteria that link to supplementary information.
LE: How does this impact on any other existing professional standards required by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)?
CS: Members need to be aware of these quality assurance standards and their content.
Although there is no intention to ‘police’ them, they may be used for reference in fitness to practise cases.
Their key strength is for members to use them to evaluate and demonstrate the quality of their service.
LE: Will the HCPC use them to judge a physiotherapist’s professional standards, then?
CS: No. The HCPC’s own standards are used for regulatory purposes.
However, the HCPC may consider any resources of relevance in a fitness to practise case and these quality assurance standards may be one of these resources.
The HCPC has been involved in discussions during the development of these standards.
LE: So how will these standards be used?
CS: They will enable members to improve the quality of their services by providing criteria against which an audit can be carried out.
The summary explains the framework and sets out the standard statements, but to look at the specific criteria below each statement you will need to go to the website.
LE: What’s the link for that?
CS: You can go to: www.csp.org.uk/standards where you’ll find the standards, their criteria and the quality assurance audit tool.
For example, if you look at Standard 8 – physiotherapy management and treatment – you’ll see it covers various issues from fair access to the service through to making appropriate arrangements for discharge or transfer of care.
The kinds of things we’d expect a physio to look at is whether the patient has been involved with the arrangements for their care, whether the new arrangements have been recorded.
LE: How does this differ from the Code of Professional Values and Behaviour that came out last year?
CS: The code is about an individual’s attitudes and behaviours and how they impact on their professional role.
The quality assurance standards are complementary and supportive but are separate to the code.
They are about the components of safe and effective physiotherapy service delivery.
LE: I noticed that the summary leaflet in Frontline is very similar in appearance to the one on the Code of Professional Values and Behaviour? Why is that?
CS: We’d like members to feel that these two resources – the Code of Professional Values and Behaviour and the summary of the Quality Assurance Standards complement one another.
One looks at the requirements of the CSP; the other looks at the quality of the service you provide.
There’s a symbiotic relationship between the two.
LE: Could members use the standards to argue that a service should not be cut beyond a certain level, such as the frequency of sessions, or number of sessions provided for any given condition?
CS: Standards weren’t designed as a tool specifically to fight cuts, but they may support members to identify the key issues more clearly.
They could be used in conjunction with HCPC standards to seek to ensure quality patient care.
Similarly they may be used alongside local and national performance indicators to support the delivery of physiotherapy services.
LE: Do these apply wherever I am working?
CS: The standards apply regardless of where you work.
They will give you the information and support you need to help you to develop a good quality service. Patients might find it useful when deciding where to go for treatment.
And insurance companies might want to know that a service met the quality assurance standards.
LE: How did you decide what appropriate standards would be?
CS: The standards have been developed through extensive consultation with members, in focus groups and at committees, overseen by a steering group.
These standards reflect what members have told us is an appropriate level which is reasonable and achievable.
LE: Do they apply to everyone?
CS: Yes, they apply whatever your grade, experience or role.
LE: What should someone do if I think a service fails to meet the standards set out by the CSP?
CS: Services that fail to meet specific standards or criteria will need to set themselves an objective and timeframe in which to improve on this aspect of their service.
The quality assurance standards can equally demonstrate improvement and will be a motivational resource for any service. fl
Quality assurance standard 8.7:
Discharge or transfer of care.
The following criteria would be used to judge how well a service was dealing with this particular aspect of care (meeting all these criteria would indicate a high quality service):
- the service user is involved with the arrangements for their transfer of care/discharge and offered copies of transfer or discharge summaries
- arrangements for the transfer of care/discharge are recorded in the record
- when the care of a service user is transferred, information is relayed to those involved in their on-going care in the most appropriate manner and format a discharge summary is sent to the referrer upon completion of the episode of care in keeping with agreed local policies where patient information is transferred this meets the requirements of consent, confidentiality and disclosure
All the criteria for each standard in all ten sections can be seen at the CSP website.
Another standard is about working in partnership with service users. The standard identifies what should be found and the criteria identify the component parts which may be used to indentify whether the standard has been met.
You can also use the criteria to demonstrate to people buying your service that you meet certain standard.
What they do give you is more information to support you in developing a quality service. We are even hoping patients and service users might use them when choosing a physiotherapist.