Practice guidance for physiotherapist supplementary and/or independent prescribers in the safe use of medicines (4th edition)

This 4th edition is a fully revised document and includes updates on independent prescribing, with information which should underpin decision-making and actions by physiotherapists who are independent and/or supplementary prescribers.


Independent prescribing by physiotherapists is in place across the UK. Prescription of seven controlled drugs is in place in Great Britain. Northern Ireland is considering its future with respect to this area.

The following practice guidance provides information which should underpin the decision-making and actions of physiotherapists who are annotated with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) either as independent and/or supplementary prescribers.

This document is published as guidance. ‘Guidance’ is defined as information which a physiotherapist has a duty to consider, and is expected to take into account as part of their decision-making process.

This document provides advice on the behaviours and conduct expected of physiotherapists who are annotated on the HCPC register as a supplementary and/or independent prescriber.

Important definitions and terms

Throughout the guidance, the use of the word ‘must’ indicates a legal and/or regulatory requirement, and describes a mandatory action and/or behaviour.

The use of the word ‘should’ indicates behaviours and/or actions that would be expected to occur in all normal circumstances.

If a physiotherapist prescriber deviates from the guidance in this document, the clinical judgment for so doing should be carefully recorded.

You should comply with this guidance, other guidance issued by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), and with any statutory requirements applicable to your prescribing practice.

Failure to do so may put your HCPC registration at risk if concerns are raised about your fitness to practise.

Download the full document (pdf, 40 pages, 400kb) below.