Scope of practice

These pages have been created to help members understand both the scope of the profession as a whole and their own individual scope of practice.

Physiotherapy is one of very few healthcare professions to have its scope defined by a Royal Charter. This provides clarity but can also make it challenging for members to judge whether their practice is in the scope of the profession or not. This is particularly so with the recognition of ‘advanced practice’ roles that allow individuals to practise skills and capabilities outside the scope of their primary profession.

What is scope?

There are two aspects: the scope of the profession; and your individual scope. It is important to understand both as they will have implications for your practice.

Your questions about scope answered
Your scope as a physiotherapist encompasses: the scope of the profession; your scope when newly qualified; your individual scope; and advanced practice

Understanding scope

Legal, regulatory and professional frameworks underpin our profession. These frameworks are useful in helping to understand scope. We have called them the cornerstones of practice. Considering each will in turn will enable you to decide whether your practice sits within the scope of the profession. 

Find out about the four cornerstones of practice
The four cornerstones of physiotherapy practice are: legislative, regulatory, professional and workplace

Advanced practice

While some aspects of advanced practice are within scope (for example, prescribing), some are not but are within the individual’s scope or capability (for example, regional nerve blocks). Registered professionals can develop skills outside the scope of their primary registration to meet clinical service needs in the NHS.

Explore how advanced practice and scope interconnect
How advanced practice fits within the scope of the profession