Policies and procedures

There are many procedures that may or may not apply to your clinic depending upon its size, the number of staff and the way you choose to set up your business.

Standard operating procedures

Desk scene with binders labelled 'Policies' and 'Procedures'

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a way of clearly defining exactly how you will perform a set process or procedure to ensure consistency and standardisation. This ensures that processes which need to be completed are done in the same way every time. They are simply a step-by-step instruction describing exactly how you will carry out routine operations. They should be concise and specific.

Your responsibilities as a self-employed physiotherapist

When you are a self-employed physiotherapist, you are responsible for taking on aspects of practice previously provided by the NHS or your private employer. This includes ensuring that you address aspects such as quality and safety that help sustain and improve high standards of patient care.

As a self-employed physiotherapist, this may seem like a rather daunting task. However, SOPs need not be complex, but simply, a description of what will be done to ensure clarity, consistency and quality.

Procedures to consider

Example templates for significant policies and procedures

Accident or incident reporting form

Infection control policy

Health and safety risk assessment template 

Safeguarding policy template

Procedures pertaining to the delivery of physiotherapy could include some or all of the following, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • The patient journey through the practice to support the management of expectations
  • Financial arrangements e.g. credit card payments
  • Appointment confirmations, reminders and cancellation charges
  • Auditing, including patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and data collection
  • Health and safety policies, including manual handling, control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) and sharps
  • Fire evacuation
  • Infection control policy
  • Cleaning regimes
  • Lone-working or chaperone policies
  • Risk assessments for clinic working
  • Risk assessments for domiciliary working
  • Incident and complaints procedures
  • Storage of patient records and GDPR
  • Accident and incident reporting

Examples of standard operating procedures


Infection control

You need to consider aspects such as:

  • how you will clean and maintain your clinic area
  • how you will procure appropriate cleaning and PPE products
  • when and with whom you will use PPE (post-Covid)
  • how you will dispose of clinical waste

Risk assessment

A risk assessment enables you to demonstrate that you have recognised and addressed any risks in your working environment. You should document this and demonstrate the steps you will take to mitigate risks.

Ensure your documentation shows the measures you have taken to mitigate the potential risks to your patients, yourself, and your colleagues. Have a look at the HSE’s risk assessment template for examples.


You should also consider how you are able to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your practice. For all chartered physiotherapists, there is a requirement from the HCPC for your continued professional registration to collect data and measure outcomes.

Again, this does not need to be complicated or laborious, but will help you make improvements to the service you offer, and show that you are striving to maintain and improve the quality of patient experience and outcomes. You may choose to ask patients for feedback on how you could improve your service and audit the outcome of your intervention.

If you chose to join Physio First you will be able to take part in their Data for Impact scheme. This will involve collecting data on every patient. In return you will receive individualised reports to benchmark yourself against a national average, and have your data analysed by a third party (University of Brighton). A quality kite mark will be awarded, should you meet the threshold standard.

Last reviewed: