Fundamental principles of Practice

10 professional advice resources you need...

10 professional advice resources
10 professional advice resources

‘No matter where we are in our careers or what our role is, it’s helpful to refresh our understanding of some fundamental principles of practice,’ says CSP professional adviser Clare Aldridge.

Recently, after 23 years of membership, I joined the CSP staff. My induction has been a great opportunity to review key CSP resources.

Frontline highlights 10 key professional practice resources that address important issues and fundamental principles for members in all practice sectors, at any point in their career.

1. Medicines, prescribing and injection therapy

Am I making the most of medicines as part of practice?
All physiotherapists are expected to incorporate medicines advice into their work where appropriate. There are a number of medicines frameworks you can use even if you are not a prescriber. If you are a prescriber are you making the most of it? Interested in injection therapy? Our resources around training and practice will be useful.

2. Record Keeping

Will my record keeping hold up under scrutiny? 
Clinical records are an important source of information if your practice is ever challenged, and for improving care and services through audit.  All physiotherapy staff have a professional and legal obligation to keep an accurate record of patient interactions so it is important your records are up to scratch. This doesn’t mean they have to be lengthy. These resources offer guidance on creating, storing, and sharing  information, as well as responding to Subject Access Requests.

3. Consent

How do I know I have consent to treat a patient? 
Consent for treatment is an ongoing process which includes shared decision-making and documentation of discussions and decisions. Capacity and age may affect how you approach conversations around consent to treatment. Our information paper helps members understand the principles that underpin informed consent and the importance of sharing and exchanging information during this process.

4. Insurance

What’s covered by the PLI scheme? 
Registered physiotherapists must have appropriate indemnity to practice. There is no list of activities covered, so you need to be able to describe how what you are doing fits into physiotherapy practice. Our web pages explain key topics such as international work, students and independent practice to help you decide if any of the activities you do require you to have extra insurance.   

5. Concurrent Treatment

Can two therapists provide treatment at the same time?
Patients have a right to ask for treatment from NHS and independent providers at the same time. Ultimately the success of concurrent treatment is based on good communication between therapists and our information paper guides you through the things you must consider to make it work for your patients.

6. Duty to Report

What do I need to report? 
Sometimes, regulators and other authorities need to be told about certain events. These  could relate to practice, or could be about yourself or others. You may have an obligation to take action to keep people safe. Our information paper explains what kind of events need to be reported and how to properly report them.

7. Delegation

How do I delegate work safely to others? 
Other people are often capable of undertaking more than you think they can. Clear systems of work and good policies and procedures are critical. These resources clarify the delegation process for registered practitioners and support workers, as well as covering topics such as accountability, supervision, duty of care, scope of practice and PLI.

8. Scope of Practice

How do I know if it’s physiotherapy?
There are lots of things you must think about in order to answer this seemingly simple question. The scope of the physiotherapy profession is very broad, but that doesn’t mean we can do anything we want to. Do you understand the Cornerstones of Practice? Are you clear on the refreshed Pillars of Practice? How do you work out if something is within your personal scope of practice? We walk you through all of these issues and more with our fully revised resources.

9. Chaperoning

When should someone else be present?
There are times when there should be someone else present to see and hear what is going on during a treatment session. Our information paper provides professional practice and employment relations advice to members about providing appropriate chaperoning services to patients, to protect the safety of both staff and patients. Our guidance includes further advice on intimate and close examination.

10. Duty of Care

What does a duty of care mean?
Put simply, you must ‘take care’ when treating your patients and registered professionals have an absolute and non-delegable duty to exercise a certain amount of skill in their work. But when is a duty of care created? Our information paper provides answers to questions such as whether you are responsible for a patient’s care when you have not yet seen them, and whether you are creating a duty of care when you give out generic leaflets or put physio advice online.

Pip White and Clare Aldridge are professional advisers at the CSP and part of the team that provides our Professional Advice Service. Please visit the website to read all these resource papers in full.  If you have any further questions you can contact the Professional Advice Team via

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