Thinking of private practice? A guide for physiotherapists

Whether you're thinking of working in a private practice or establishing one of your own, this paper looks at different models as well as financial, equipment and marketing matters.


There are a number of options available to you if you are considering private practice. Whichever one you choose, you should appreciate that it is a business venture and that there may be financial risks, additional personal responsibilities and a large amount of administrative work.

While some practitioners choose to see clients in a home setting, others choose to share practice space with other health practitioners, renting by the hour, or having a room within a clinic or a gym. Each setting has advantages and disadvantages that need considering before making your decision.

Treating an occasional private patient

Any Chartered physiotherapist may accept private business from a self-referring patient, or on referral from any other professional.

If you hold HPC registration and a Practising Member CSP membership, your personal professional activities will be covered by the CSP Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) scheme, subject to the terms of the policy.

If treatment is provided in the physiotherapist's home the treatment area must comply with the appropriate hygiene standards.

The CSP recommends seeking advice from insurers, LFC Graybrook, or an alternate insurance advisor as to whether additional insurance is required, including public liability cover.

Working as a support worker in private practice

It is possible for associate members to work as self-employed private practitioners.

In order to remain within the scope of practice of a CSP associate member, it's essential that your work is delegated to you by a registered physiotherapist, which requires that there is also some formal arrangement between you and a physiotherapist.

In private practice this will need to be determined by the written 'contract-for-services' (a summary of the proposed relationship and arrangements) that you will create as the legal basis for the operation of your services.

Becoming a partner in an existing practice

If you are considering becoming a partner or entering into a directorship, legal and financial advice should always be sought and a formal partnership or directorship agreement will need to be established. 

Purchasing an existing practice

Another option is to purchase an existing practice that is already up and running and has its own equipment and clientele. Businesses are often advertised in CSP's Frontline magazine, Physio First's In Touch Journal as well as in local papers.

Setting up a new practice

A practice can be owned by a sole proprietor, by a partnership of two or more people, or by Directors of a Limited Company. Each of these scenarios will have different tax and legal implications, and these should be considered before choosing which is the most appropriate for your circumstances.

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