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Manual handling

Manual handling is a key aspect of physiotherapy, requiring continual training for practitioners to be regarded as experts, according to new CSP guidance.

The revised guidance was launched at the recent Disabled Living Foundation's Moving and handling people conference, and makes clear that physiotherapists only have 'proficiency' in manual handling, unless they have received specific postgraduate training.

Consultant back care adviser Pat Alexander, who chaired the working party responsible for the guidance, said the education chapter in the document was very important, as it demonstrated that 'physios aren't experts unless they've had the proper training'.

Ms Alexander said the input of clinical interest groups was vital to the document's development. The guidance contains case studies for different specialisms, including neurological rehabilitation, paediatrics, hydrotherapy, learning disabilities and bariatric rehabilitation.

The guidance also explains how legislation requires physios to make risk assessments of unavoidable manual handling, and gives strategies for reducing risks and advice about delegating therapy tasks to other professionals.

Disabled Living Foundation chief executive Nicole Penn-Symons said the document was already benefiting other professionals.

'Although it is a core skill for physios who have manual handling duties, there are a number of other professions, such as nursing, where there are experts in manual handling,' she said.


Guidance on Manual Handling in Physiotherapy is available free at To order a copy, contact the enquiry handling unit on tel 020 7306 6666 or email


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