Direct access cancellation ‘the wrong decision at the wrong time’, warns CSP NI

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in Northern Ireland has strongly criticised a decision by the Health and Social Care Board not to proceed with the roll out of physiotherapy self-referral.

The cancellation leaves Northern Ireland as the only part of the UK where all patients must first see a GP, placing greater strain on already under-pressure primary care services.

The CSP NI has now written to all Assembly election candidates asking them to support the introduction of direct access to physiotherapy in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the decision Tom Sullivan, Public Affairs & Policy Manager for the CSP said,

‘The decision by the Health & Social Care Board not to proceed with direct access to physiotherapy in Northern Ireland will result in poorer care for patients.

‘This decision has been taken in the absence of a functioning Executive and on the back of an evaluation of the direct access physiotherapy pilot, which has been operating in the South Eastern Trust since June 2015 that demonstrated high levels of service user satisfaction, patient empowerment and better clinical outcomes.

‘The CSP believes that this is the wrong decision taken at the wrong time and is in stark opposition to the transformation of services required to meet the needs of patients in the future.

‘In addition, given the current crisis facing general practice in Northern Ireland direct access physiotherapy has the potential to significantly free up GP time and reduce waiting lists.

‘Effectively this decision means that Northern Ireland will remain the only part of the UK where self-referral to physiotherapy is unavailable to patients.

‘We are asking election candidates to ensure that this decision is overturned as a matter of urgency.’


Tom Sullivan, CSP NI Public Affairs & Policy Manager

M: 07779 651 939 | email

Note to editors

For further media information about the CSP please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111 or email Out of hours please call Jon Ryan, head of press and PR on 07917 091 200.

1. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the UK’s professional, educational and trade union body. We have more than 52,000 members, including chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers.

Number of subscribers: 0

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added