New guidance on ultrasound practice for physiotherapists

Ground-breaking guidance on the use of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) as part of physiotherapy practice has been launched by the CSP.

A technician performing an ultrasound on a patient's calf muscle

It will provide clarity and practice guidance.

The publication of the guidance follows a lengthy period of collaboration with a number of subject-matter expert members, who have called for the CSP to provide robust tools to support members, managers and leaders in delivering safe and effective physiotherapy POCUS practice, and in particular to help members understand the difference between sonography and POCUS.

Dr Mike Smith from the University of Cardiff, who was part of the team involved in this work, said: ‘POCUS can provide a step change in the way in which physiotherapists assess, manage and treat their patients across a wide range of clinical specialisms.

In generating this guidance, the CSP have shown world-leading vision in identifying initial mechanisms for how physiotherapists can confidently and sustainably incorporate POCUS into their clinical practice; thus enabling our patients to access world-class, imaging informed healthcare.

The documents set out the CSP’s expectations of professional practice and, for the first time, clearly set out that POCUS training should be at a minimum of an academic Level 6 (Eng/Wal) / Level 10 (Sco) standard. 

CSP professional adviser Pip White said: ‘POCUS is already well established within many services and its use is growing in physiotherapy practice. 

‘The production of practice guidance and information on the context of its use will support physiotherapists who are already using this in their practice to deliver safe, high quality services as well as providing a strong foundation for its use to grow further within our profession.’

The CSP is aware that there are also a number of academic papers awaiting publication that further set out and support the role of physiotherapists in delivering POCUS services in a variety of clinical specialisms, which further cement the value of physiotherapists in the developing field of POCUS. 

CSP assistant director Gill Rawlinson said: ‘These documents will be pivotal in shaping and progressing ultrasound practice for physiotherapists and I am really delighted to see this work completed and out there for members. 

It’s a huge step forward. It’s a really complex landscape and we’re the first professional body to put out some guidance.

‘I’d like to thank our advisory members for their time, energy and leadership during the development of these resources.’

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