Philip Hulse outlines plans to fine-tune CSP’s membership rules.
I am hugely proud to be a chartered physiotherapist. The public understand that chartered status means a professional level of qualification. The Privy Council actively challenges any misuses of the term ‘chartered physiotherapist’. Ninety per cent of registered physiotherapists in the UK hold chartered status and can use (MCSP) as members of the CSP.
For MCSPs, it is an important sign of commitment to excellence. Chartered status shows we are part of a UK-wide professional community, committed to the high standard of practice.
In my service, technical instructors and other physiotherapy support workers have long been a vital part of the physiotherapy team. What is relatively new is the hospital’s recruitment of non-registered staff who are qualified at degree level (not in physiotherapy). They aspire to be physiotherapists or have been unable to find employment as a physiotherapist after graduating.
I have encouraged these new colleagues to join the CSP as associate members, to show their commitment to high standards of physiotherapy for patients and high professional standards. They are members of our physiotherapy community.
After more than 20 years of successful associate membership, some chartered physiotherapists still worry about the public being confused by the associate title. The CSP is very clear that the designation MCSP is only available to qualified physiotherapists. Associate, affiliate and student CSP members must not present themselves as physiotherapists who are chartered or registered.
Our patients can be safe in the knowledge that they are being treated by a qualified clinician.
The designation ‘physiotherapist’ is legally protected in the UK and only physiotherapists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the title. The HCPC has the legal power to prosecute where there is deliberate and ongoing misrepresentation.
The CSP’s recent membership review considered opening out CSP membership to a wide range of non-physiotherapist practitioners. Council decided against allowing sports therapists, massage therapists, musculoskeletal researchers or managers of physiotherapy services becoming CSP members.
Instead, it proposes including as affiliates overseas physiotherapists and physiotherapy students, some qualified animal physiotherapists and people planning to study physiotherapy. They would not be chartered and will not be able to use the MCSP designation. Having them in membership will help us promote good practice.
- Philip Hulse is vice chair of the CSP
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