Here at the CSP, we sometimes receive phone calls from organisers of major sporting events, seeking student physios to support participants in a half marathon or a five-a-side charity football match, for example.
In addition, students occasionally ring the enquiry handling unit to check whether it’s okay for them to offer a massage to someone when that’s not part of a full physiotherapy treatment.
So where do you stand as a student if you’re asked to get involved in this way?
The position regarding providing physiotherapy services is clear: until you are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a physiotherapist you cannot offer physiotherapy services, unless you are working under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist.
But what about activities where there is no supervising physiotherapist?
The most common of these is sports massage.
Practising sports massage as a stand-alone activity is not the same as practising physiotherapy within a limited scope of practice prior to full registration.
Student physios may undertake additional qualifications in sports massage but this is not linked to partial completion of the pre-registration physiotherapy programme.
When working autonomously as a sports massage therapist you must not mislead your clients to believe you are a qualified physiotherapist; you must make it clear you are a sports massage therapist.
You will also need separate Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) for sports massage as, because you are working autonomously, your student PLI is not in force.
Many students have asked if the CSP can offer a separate sports massage indemnity package to save them ‘shopping around’ elsewhere.
In response to this, from July the CSP will be offering student members the option to purchase a separate PLI cover for sports massage. This is a new product and is not connected in any way to the existing physiotherapy PLI package for CSP members.
To be eligible to purchase the policy you must be a student member of the CSP and have a minimum of a Level 3 sports massage qualification from SMA-accredited schools, or endorsed courses offered by VTCT, ITEC and CIBTAC.
The policy will only cover sports massage and the annual fee will be £30.
Jamie Carson is the CSP’s students’ officer
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