Supporting Clinical Exercise Physiologists

Council has decided to support a move to develop a newly defined role for Clinical Exercise Physiologists (CEPs), allowing them to be accredited and to join a new voluntary register. Alex MacKenzie, Chair of Council, explains the decision here.

by amackenzie

As Chair of Council, I want to explain to members why we reached this decision at our last meeting and the benefits it could bring to the physiotherapy profession.

There is an ambition in the UK to develop a newly defined CEP who will specialise in the prescription and delivery of evidence-based exercise interventions as part of the prevention, treatment and long-term management of acute, sub-acute, chronic and complex conditions; working as part of a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare and rehabilitation providers across sectors and settings. CEP services will aim to optimise physical function and health and promote long- term wellness through lifestyle modification and behaviour change across all ages.

The aim is for adequately qualified CEPs to become accredited and join a voluntary register regulated by the professional standards authority

There are already a number of different roles who can deliver exercise both within and outside the NHS and there are times when it is appropriate for patients to transition from the NHS to other services for ongoing fitness and activity.

We carefully considered the current situation where we are already seeing a push for greater use of exercise personnel. This is not uncommon in the areas of pulmonary and cardiac rehab, where members often work alongside exercise physiologists.

While exercise is a key part of physiotherapy and Council fully recognises that, there are also many times that patients do not need, or no longer require, our specialist intervention but would still benefit from exercise guidance.

The demand for this service is growing rapidly and the workforce we have at present, and in our near future, cannot meet this demand. Moving forward, it is better that we can have the confidence in an accredited CEP to support the public when they need it.

The CSP is a stakeholder in a group called the Clinical Exercise Workforce Collaborative who are committed to assuring patient safety and raising standards of exercise interventions in clinical populations. Council’s decision to support accreditation and registration of CEPs enables us to remain as a key player in this group.

Council recognises that this decision might not suit all members, but we decided it was better to be at the table influencing and shaping this area.

In making this decision, Council acknowledges that the way the profession works alongside a wide range of exercise professionals is rapidly evolving. Council appreciates that clarity regarding the unique role of the physiotherapy workforce in the clinical exercise space is needed. It is for this reason Council has asked the CSP to undertake some focussed work on this later in the year, and we hope many members will engage in this when it is underway.

We have published FAQs covering some of the key issues connected to this decision.

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