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A: The scope of the physiotherapy profession

Does the area relate to principles and application of physiotherapy? Work through the questions and criteria then continue to section B.

You can also download the prompt questions to work through and write on

A.1: Does the area fit within one of the four pillars of physiotherapy as defined by the CSP royal charter: massage, exercise, electrotherapy, or kindred (related or linked) forms of treatment?

A.2: Does your job description or contract require you to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a physiotherapist?

A.2: Would the area of practice support the basic aims of physiotherapy; enabling individuals or populations to move, perform and function, maximising quality of life and/or promoting and protecting health and wellbeing?

A.3: Would you retain responsibility, accountability and autonomy for the care you deliver if practising in the area?

A.4: Would this area of practice use your assessment, diagnostic, clinical-reasoning and judgment skills?

A.5: Would this area of practice take into account individual and/or population needs?

Kindred methods of treatment

This is the fourth pillar of practice and it facilitates the use of related areas of practice. This enables members to develop or maintain their scope of practice according to changing patient and service need, within the parameters of patient safety, patient centeredness and effectiveness.

Criteria for A: The scope of practice of physiotherapy

Requirement: The proposed area demonstrably relates to the recognised/established scope of practice of UK physiotherapy.

A ‘new’ area of practice could mean one of the following:

  • A technique or approach that is new to UK physiotherapy
  • The application of a technique or approach that is already established within scope to a condition or an identified need (potentially relating to a particular population or patient group) that has not previously been treated by UK physiotherapy in this way (or at all)
  • A technique or approach that is currently carried out by another profession.

It is logical for physiotherapists to engage in new areas of practice that have direct links to an established area of practice.

 The CSP would expect a proposed new area of practice to fit with the following:

  • The four pillars of practice, as defined by the CSP’s royal charter. A new area is often classified under ‘kindred treatments’
  • The 2007 definition of scope of physiotherapy practice
  • Established areas and treatment approaches of UK physiotherapy practice
  • The range of patient and population groups with whom physiotherapists work, in a range of settings and roles in which physiotherapists practice
  • The knowledge and skills base of the profession, including how this has developed to date and how this may logically develop in the future

And that the new area of practice:

  • Upholds a physiotherapist’s responsibility for the care they deliver (Duty of Care), based upon the assessment, clinical-reasoning and judgment/diagnosis that they make
  • Does not sit in isolation from other physiotherapeutic contributions to a patient pathway
  • Is likely to enhance patients’ experience of care as well as contribute to the delivery of integrated care, and achievement of improved outcomes.

Individual scope of practice

Always ask: Can I practice this modality or approach? Am I appropriately educated, trained and competent in this area?

To help clarify this, ask yourself whether you have:

  • completed an appropriate programme of professional development or learning in the area
  • kept records
  • maintained your competence to practice the area in question

If you are unsure whether this area is within your scope, there are further CSP resources that you can use.

Start by having a look at the Physiotherapy Framework Workbook. Having done this you can create or log in to your CSP ePortfolio account.

Continue to section B

Once you have completed the questions above, continue to section B, 'Recognition of the new area from peers', using the link below.

Continue to section B



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