Advanced practice and scope

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

How advanced practice fits within the scope of the profession

Advanced practice is a level of practice that registered healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds and areas can achieve. In recent years, it has evolved considerably resulting in many members asking the CSP's professional advice team what is in scope and what advanced practice is covered by our professional liability insurance (PLI) scheme.   

Some additional tasks advanced practitioners are trained to do may not be physiotherapy. While you are able to train in these because you are a physiotherapist, some advanced practice roles involve tasks or assessments that do not fall within the four pillars of physiotherapy practice and are therefore not in the scope of the profession.

In many contexts, these additional tasks allow physiotherapists to personally practice skills and capabilities outside the scope of practice of their primary profession. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) understands this, and at this time there is no annotation or recognition of the level of practice on its register. However, HCPC standards must still be adhered to, including the need for you to be educated, trained and competent in all activities undertaken outside the scope of your primary registered profession. If the task an employer is asking you to do is outside of the scope of the profession, you will require additional insurance which is usually offered by your employer.

What falls within scope?

Considering each of the four cornerstones of physiotherapy practice in turn will enable you to decide whether your practice sits within the scope of the profession.

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