Advice line - Professional practice

CSP’s Sally Gosling provides a timely re minder of registration requirements.

In the wake of the Francis report on Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, there is renewed focus on ensuring consistently safe, high-quality patient care, delivered with compassion and professionalism.

The current professional regulatory arrangements have been in place in the UK for physiotherapists for more than ten years.

They mean that only individuals holding current registration with the Health and Care Professions Council [HCPC] are legally able to practise as a physiotherapist.

Registration applies not only to clinical practitioners (in all employment sectors and practice environments), but to individuals in a range of occupational roles, including working in education, management or research.

Maintaining registration as a physiotherapist, including meeting continuing professional development [CPD] requirements, is the cornerstone of professional activity across roles.

From a patient safety perspective, this ensures only individuals currently on the HCPC register and who go through re-registration can practise.

Those contributing to leading and developing the profession - through research activity, educating the future profession, managing clinical services and developing professional policy - are subject to the same regulatory requirements.

The CSP supports members in meeting HCPC requirements and demonstrating professionalism.

Registration with the HCPC is a condition of CSP professional liability insurance cover and is a requirement in CSP bye-laws for members practising the profession.

There are some caveats: physiotherapy students are preparing for registration; associate members are not currently registered but the CSP expects them to demonstrate patient-centred professionalism; and qualified members practising exclusively on animals are outside HCPC registration, as are members whose career has developed beyond practising physiotherapy.

Further information

  • HCPC registration: see  
  • CSP member guidance: see
  • The CSP is seeking confirmation of HCPC registration numbers for full-practising members.
  • Just log in at the account page and choose the ‘update your member details option’.

Sally Gosling is assistant director, practice and development

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Sally Gosling

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