Advice Line: why members must comply on use of chartered status

Members must comply with Privy Council rules on their use of chartered status, says CSP director Natalie Beswetherick.

Some of you won’t be bothered about the term ‘chartered’, while others will be very proud to describe themselves as a chartered physiotherapist.  Whatever your view, if you do use it, you need to do so appropriately.  A recent complaint, raised by the Privy Council, drew our attention to the misuse of the title by some CSP members.  This misuse must stop. 
For those of you who like history, a Royal Charter was awarded to the physiotherapy profession in 1920 by King George V.   The award is made in recognition of a profession’s high education and professional standards.  The award grants legal protection of the title ‘chartered’ to members of that profession. Physiotherapists in the UK can describe themselves as ‘chartered physiotherapists’ on completion of a qualifying physiotherapy programme of study, securing Health and Care Professions Council registration and becoming a CSP member.
Anyone using this title must say ‘chartered physiotherapist’ and not attempt to separate the two words by inserting a specialty descriptor, or specifying groups treated,  such as ‘chartered paediatric physiotherapist’.  Why not?  If you insert a descriptor straight after ‘chartered’, it implies the charter was awarded to a ‘paediatric’ physiotherapist organisation. This is misuse. 
So if you describe yourself as a chartered neurological physiotherapist, for example, you need to stop immediately.  Saying ‘chartered physiotherapist and neurological physiotherapist’ would be acceptable in this example.  If you have erred, make sure you update every media item, such as websites, Twitter and Facebook, to ensure you meet this essential requirement. 
The CSP has to comply with the Privy Council’s request and will monitor websites to ensure members are doing so as well. 
Remember to follow this guidance, keep the ‘chartered physiotherapist’ title together, and use the term with pride. 
  • Natalie Beswetherick is CSP’s director of practice development.
Natalie Beswetherick CSP’s director of practice development

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