Prescribing for physiotherapists

UK medicines law sets out the framework for how health professionals may use medicines in their work.

Thumbnail

There are two types of prescribing for physiotherapists:

  1. Supplementary prescribing is the use of a written clinical management plan (CMP) to prescribe agreed medicines in partnership with a doctor. The CMP can include any licensed or unlicensed medicines and all controlled drugs.
  2. Independent prescribing is the use of your own clinical reasoning and professional judgment to determine the nature and extent of any medicines to be used in the management of diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions. Independent prescribers may prescribe any licensed medicine from the British National Formulary, within national and local guidelines, for any condition within their area of competence within the overarching framework of human movement, performance and function. Independent prescribers may also mix medicines prior to administration and prescribe from a restricted list of seven controlled drugs.

Key facts

  • Supplementary and independent prescribing by physiotherapists is legal in all parts of the UK.
  • Prescribing by UK physiotherapists is not allowed overseas.
  • Physiotherapists cannot prescribe medicines for purely cosmetic purposes.
  • Prescribing courses for physiotherapists are validated and approved by the HCPC.
  • The HCPC sets separate prescribing standards for those annotated as prescribers.
  • Courses validated for independent prescribing will automatically provide you with a supplementary prescribing qualification as well.
  • You must not prescribe until your prescribing qualifications are added to your HCPC registration.

Further information

Last reviewed: