CSP rejects criticism of physios

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has today challenged assertions by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) that physios are being used as substitute nurses.

A physiotherapist working within a rehab ward

Physios are not, and don’t want to be, nurses. What physios can do is undertake some overlapping roles where they have the training, skills and knowledge to effectively and safely perform them including:

  • working on therapist-led rehabilitation wards
  • as part of ward or community-based multidisciplinary teams
  • specialist clinical roles where both physios and nurses may have had requisite specialist training
  • managing multidisciplinary teams involving both nurses and AHPs
  • senior clinical roles without direct patient care responsibility

Commenting on the RCN's assertions, CSP policy director Rob Yeldham said: ‘The relative success of physiotherapy in expanding over recent years does mean that we have more physios applying for roles which are rightly open to multiple professions.

For example, it is entirely appropriate that a rehab ward matron role is open to both registered nurses and registered physios

'But there is no evidence that physios are taking on nursing roles.’

The CSP is briefing the media about the realities of the multidisciplinary workforce.

In addition, we are pointing out the evidence that multidisciplinary teams are safer for patients. With colleagues in the Allied Health Professions Federation we are also seeking to ensure that NHS senior leaders reject unfounded assertions about AHPs.

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