Aquatic physiotherapy during the pandemic

A brief overview of what services you can offer and on what basis.

Hydrotherapy pools in England can remain open during the lockdown

The government has stated that ‘medical and health services’ can keep running through the four week lockdown period. The CSP has gained further confirmation from Public Health England that physiotherapy is included in the definition.

CSP members in all sectors should seek to continue to run physiotherapy services during the national lockdown. All relevant public health rules relating to social distancing, risk assessment and PPE must be followed to keep clinicians and patients as safe as possible.

Hydrotherapy pools can remain open for aquatic physiotherapy as usual following Covid-19 safety recommendations. If the hydrotherapy pool is part of a leisure or school facility, it is up to the operator to decide whether the pool can remain open only for healthcare use. 

Can I offer aquatic physiotherapy in a hydrotherapy pool?

The CSP and the Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP) have consulted with the Public Health England National Incident Coordination Unit to provide the following advice:

  • Yes if the pool you use is in a healthcare setting (a hospital, physiotherapy or rehabilitation clinic); if you are providing aquatic therapy for healthcare reasons in a special school setting, or if the facility you use is now open under your government's guidance.

Decisions about the use of hydrotherapy pools in NHS settings should be made by the local NHS service.

More broadly, the decision to use any hydrotherapy pool must be based on local risk assessment about patient suitability, and appropriate procedures regarding water quality and monitoring should be in place.

Additionally, locally determined infection prevention and control measures should be adopted to reduce transmission risks through poolside activity (for example, effective cleaning of hoists, shower chairs rails and so on).

Further guidance

Members should refer to:

Last reviewed: