Does my insurance cover me to provide pitchside first aid or physiotherapy?


As a registered physiotherapist watching a sports team, such as a school rugby match, there might be an expectation that you provide some sort of support if needed and you may even wish to volunteer to do this. However, you must make it clear to everyone involved what capacity you are providing your services, as this decision will determine whether you need additional insurance.

Acting as a registered physiotherapist with relevant first aid training

In this situation, you will be covered by the CSP public liability insurance (PLI), subject to terms and conditions. You provide appropriate pitchside management of people, which may include first aid, or other management, dependent on your clinical assessment and professional judgment.

When acting as a physiotherapist at a pitchside you must ensure you comply with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of conduct, performance and ethics, and meet the standards of proficiency for physiotherapists. You must keep and securely store records of your treatment.

The CSP does not define specific training requirements for pitchside physiotherapy, however we recommend that you contact the club to understand what standards of training they expect, as this may be dictated by a governing body.

Acting as a first aider

In this situation, you would not be offering support as a registered physiotherapist but as a stand-alone first aider. Therefore, you are not covered by the CSP PLI scheme and you will need to organise separate insurance. This is because you are not providing physiotherapy services. While you may draw on knowledge and skills from physiotherapy training, you are restricted to providing a first aid service within the defined protocols of the event first aid provision. You should check what level of training the event organisers expect. Be aware that the generic HCPC standards of proficiency are still relevant even if a physio is working in an entirely different role. Furthermore, CSP members are covered for treatments administered at the scene of a medical emergency under the ‘Good Samaritan’ clause within the CSP PLI scheme. 

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Alex Nambyiah is a CSP professional

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