Four pillars FAQ

We are asking CSP members to vote on what language should be used to describe the four pillars of physiotherapy practice. Read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions about the survey.

Your questions answered

Why are the options so limited in the survey?

The survey is the end of a longer process of consultation, and gives all members a chance to express an opinion on the final options.


Who decided on the remit?

Your elected Council set up the review and set the remit.


How were members involved?

Thirty-one focus groups were held across the UK involving members from various sectors, specialties and member categories. The CSP Professional Committee provided oversight to the whole project.


Why can’t we propose additions or changes now?

The options in the survey are the outcome of a long process of consultation and consideration. Other ideas and options have already been considered and these reflect the final choices.


Why is the Charter language so dated?

The Royal Charter was granted in 1920, so it reflects language and practice of that time. The CSP has regularly updated our interpretation of the original language to reflect changes in the profession.


Why are you not changing the Royal Charter more radically?

The Royal Charter was granted by the Crown. As such, the CSP Council can’t just amend it. This is a consultation on how we interpret the CSP's Royal Charter. Changing the charter would require external agreement and would involve a significant amount of time and effort which Council thinks is better spent on promoting the profession and developing evidence-based practice.


Why isn’t the language more easily understandable by the general public?

The four pillars are primarily there to define the profession for the profession. The CSP would not use these in public-facing communications to explain physiotherapy.


Why is the archaic word kindred used?

Most of the focus groups felt the word was out of date, but no one could come up with a modern equivalent which has the same breadth of meaning. Members also expressed the importance of maintaining a catch-all descriptor, recognising it was this pillar that had enabled the profession to develop and expand its scope of practice as advanced practitioners, consultants, injectors and independent prescribers.


Why don’t the pillars reflect neuro/respiratory etc?

The four pillars have never covered the medical specialties in which physiotherapists provide services. They describe the fundamentals of the scope of practice of the profession.


Why aren’t research and evidence reflected?

The CSP sees research and evidence-based practice as underpinning professional standards, but they apply to all clinical professions and do not distinguish physiotherapy from other categories such as medicine, radiography or occupational therapy.


Why are the pillars not the same for all allied health professions?

The Charter defines what physiotherapy is using these pillars. Common pillars for all AHPs would be meaningless in this context.


Respond to the survey

The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and closes on 12 August. You need to be a CSP member and to log in to the website to access it.

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