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HPC makes surprise decision on sports therapists

11 March 2011 - 9:31am

Sports therapy could be officially regulated as a separate profession from physiotherapy, if a recommendation from the Health Professions Council (HPC) is accepted by government.


The move comes despite concerns from the CSP that the application lacks any substantial evidence base and that there was no consultation with the CSP in advance.

The Society of Sports Therapists (SoST) submitted an application in July 2010, seeking statutory regulation for all sports therapists. In an unexpected move, the HPC council decided on 10 February 2011 to recommend the proposal to the government.

The SoST application argued that physiotherapy and sports therapy are two distinct disciplines, warranting separate statutory recognition. But the CSP argues there is not a convincing case that sports therapy is distinctly different from physiotherapy.

In a letter to the HPC sent on 9 March, Phil Gray, chief executive of the CSP, argues that the application casts physiotherapy in a negative light and makes its case by using anecdotal comments, out of context quotations from CSP members. It also uses out-of-date documents, such as the 1920 charter, he says.

Mr Gray argues the HPC has failed to follow its own procedures or to consult with the CSP about the submission.

‘We could have helped to ensure that comparisons made between physiotherapists’ and sports therapists respective knowledge, skills and practice were informed, fairly made, rigorously stated and appropriately evidenced,’ said Mr Gray.

‘The HPC should review its previous decision and seek more detailed information from the CSP about the role and knowledge base of contemporary physiotherapy.’

No CSP input

The CSP was given no opportunity to see the SoST document or to comment on the validity of the comparisons made with physiotherapy in the application, prior to HPC making a decision, he states.

The CSP wants the HPC to seek more detailed comment from the CSP before proceeding with the SoST application for statutory regulation.

The HPC decision came just days before the government published a major review of future professional regulation which will effectively halt any new professions being granted statutory recognition by the government.

Instead new professions will now fall under the category of ‘approved voluntary registers’ which would not give legal protection of title.

It is thought likely that, despite the HPC recommendation, the SoST bid may well be caught by this change in government policy.


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