First contact physiotherapists and public liability insurance

It is very important that all members are clear on their employment status when carrying out all work as a physiotherapist to be sure they have the appropriate indemnity in place. Employed members should always ensure they have an accurate job description to reflect their first contact physiotherapy (FCP)/advanced practice role and responsibilities.

First contact physiotherapist PLI information

Who provides my professional liability insurance (PLI) when I am employed as an FCP?

  • UK law dictates that an employer is liable for the acts and omissions of its employees if carried out 'in the course of employment' (known as vicarious liability). This means that every employer (including the NHS, which usually operates under state-backed indemnity schemes) has to ensure they arrange suitable cover to protect the organisation and physiotherapists for errors and omissions arising from the work members undertake as part of their employment. As a result, the CSP negotiate cover provided as a membership benefit, on the basis that the insurers will not need to indemnify members working under a Contract of Employment.

If my employer is covered why do I need my CSP PLI?

  • Your employer is only liable for your acts and omissions that occur in the course of your employment and for the role it has asked you to perform. That is why an up to date job description is essential, as this is the written document that sets out what an employer requires an employee to do. The employer is not responsible for everything you do. If you undertake any other work outside your employment, including voluntary or paid work, or provide advice to family and friends you need to have your own PLI.

    Also, in the event that if you, as an employed member of the CSP receive a claim pursued directly against you personally then the CSP and its insurers will support you. In practice, this means you will be supported to redirect the matter back to your employer and their insurers. Similar support will be offered to employed members who have action taken against them by the HCPC but this may also involve the employer, depending upon their role/actions relating to the action.

Who provides my Professional Liability Insurance when I am a self-employed FCP?

  • If you are a fully practising, self-employed member of the CSP, working within the scope of the physiotherapy profession, your CSP PLI cover will be in force (subject to terms and conditions). However, in many circumstances the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP; England) or equivalent country schemes will cover the clinical negligence liabilities for services provided in a primary care setting and you should check this locally.

I have completed the Health Education England Supervisor Training for the FCP/AP in Primary Care (MSK) Roadmap to Practice. Am I insured to offer supervision to others in primary care? Do I need to notify my insurers?

Supervisors who are undertaking this role as part of their employment ought to be working under indemnity schemes provided by their employer. It is important that all clinicians working as supervisors speak directly with their employers to determine what insurance provisions are in place for them and to ensure that their job plan and job description contains specific information regarding their roles and responsibilities in a primary care environment e.g. multi-professional supervision. Some insurance policies may require you to let them know you are working in this supervisory role and you should check this with your employer.

Self-employed roadmap supervisors who are members of the CSP and eligible for cover under the CSP PLI scheme, and are working within the scope of physiotherapy practice, are insured to offer supervision as part of their role (subject to terms and conditions). Members must take care to only offer multi-professional supervision within the limits of their professional scope in order not to invalidate their CSP PLI policy.

These members do not need to contact either the CSP or the CSP’s insurance brokers to inform them of this element of their role. 

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