The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


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Physiotherapy facts and statistics

Use our list of 'frequently-asked' facts and statistics to find out more about physiotherapy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Physiotherapists and physiotherapy services contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and populations in a broad range of settings. If the information you are looking for is not here, please contact us on 020 7306 6628 or at for further help.


The term physiotherapy encompasses a range of interventions, services and advice aimed at maintaining, restoring and improving people's function and movement and thereby maximising the quality of their lives. Physiotherapy has a flexible and holistic approach towards its clients and works in partnership with them. There are many different physiotherapy roles, practised in a range of sectors and settings across the UK, very often in multi-disciplinary and integrated teams.

Areas of physiotherapy

Physiotherapy contributes to the health and well-being of people in a variety of ways in a range of different settings such as in hospital, GP surgeries, at home or in private practice. Others may be employed in the workplace, in schools, sports clubs and leisure centres or care homes. Examples of the work that physiotherapists do cover:

  • working with people of all ages to increase activity levels, improving general health and addressing related conditions such as obesity
  • preventing people incurring injury in work and helping them to return to work after a period of incapacity, for example as the result of a musculoskeletal disorder like back pain
  • supporting people with long-term conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or diabetes, to manage their condition and maintain their independence
  • providing rehabilitation services to help people recover from a heart attack or a stroke
  • supporting children with developmental movement problems or learning difficulties
  • preventing and treating sports injuries - from elite sportsmen and women, such as footballers or Olympic athletes, to those of us who injure ourselves in leisure activities such as gardening
  • supporting women with ante- and post-natal care, exercise and posture and rehabilitation following gynaecological operations
  • treating elderly patients with arthritis or helping them to recover from a fall and prevent it happening again, supporting them to maintain mobility and independence
  • contributing to the health and well-being of people with mental health problems
  • working as part of palliative care teams to help patients and their carers manage the condition, including pain relief.

See our what is physiotherapy page for more information on the conditions that physiotherapists treat and our list of public information leaflets.

Access to treatment

Physiotherapy may form part of treatment during or following a stay in hospital. You may also be referred for physiotherapy by your GP. In some areas, you may be able to obtain physiotherapy services without a referral from your doctor. If this is possible in your area, details will be available at your GP surgery, or via your local NHS physiotherapy department.

You can also seek the services of a private physiotherapist without a referral: please see our physio2u directory listing for details of local private physiotherapists. You may also wish to see further information on access options to physiotherapy treatment.


Inevitably, pay is an important issue for our members: see the pay and conditions section within Union Support for more on this.

Physiotherapy careers

For information on requirements for becoming a physiotherapist, and further details on careers and learning, see our career opportunities page.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

The CSP is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 50,000 chartered physiotherapists, physio students and physiotherapy support workers.


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