Policy statement: Quality services

Policy type
Policy categories

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) recognises that patients/clients, governments and funding agencies have a right to expect that the services provided by physical therapists will be consistent with national quality standards.

Quality physical therapy service means the provision of the best possible service at an appropriate cost, balancing patient/client, organisational and professional considerations. It involves considerations of:

  • equity
  • efficiency
  • effectiveness
  • appropriateness
  • acceptability
  • accessibility
  • availability
  • safety

To ensure optimal quality physical therapy services there is a need to:

  • utilise evidence based practice
  • manage change effectively
  • evaluate practice structures, processes and outcomes
  • monitor efficiency, effectiveness and safety
  • measure and respond to patient/client satisfaction
  • conduct research

WCPT encourages its member organisations to:

  • demonstrate leadership in quality issues by developing practice standards and monitoring procedures
  • contribute to the development of professional tools, such as clinical guidelines, designed to facilitate evidence based practice
  • work collaboratively across professions to raise standards of health services
  • explore opportunities for international collaboration in developing resources


Clinical guidelines — are statements developed through systemic processes to assist practitioners and individuals in making decisions about appropriate forms of health care in particular clinical areas, taking account of individual circumstances and need.[1] [2]

Evidence based practice (EBP) — is an approach to health care wherein health professionals use the best available evidence from systematic research, integrating it with clinical expertise to make clinical decisions for individual patients. EBP values, enhances and builds on clinical expertise, knowledge of disease mechanisms, and pathophysiology. It involves complex and conscientious decision-making based not only on the available evidence but also on patient characteristics, situations, and preferences. It recognises that health care is individualised and ever changing and involves uncertainties and probabilities.[3]

Standards of practice— are a collection of documents describing the professional consensus on the practise of physical therapy for physical therapists working in any occupational setting. Standards reflect the collective judgement of the profession at a given point in time.[4]


Approval, review and related policy information
Date adopted:

First adopted at the 13th General Meeting of WCPT June 1995.

Revised and re-approved at the 15th General Meeting of WCPT June 2003.

Revised and re-approved at the 16th General Meeting of WCPT June 2007.

Revised and re-approved at the 17th General Meeting of WCPT June 2011.
Date for review: 2015
Related WCPT Policies:

WCPT policy statements:

WCPT guidelines:

  1. European Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. European Physiotherapy Benchmark Statement. Brussels, Belgium: ER-WCPT; 2003.  (Access date 23rd March 2010)
  2. Field MJ,Lohr KN,Eds. Clinical Practice Guidelines: Directions for a New Program, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1990.
  3. McKibbon KA. Evidence based practice. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 1998: 86:3;396-401
  4. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Rules and Standards. London, UK: CSP; 2005.  (Access date 23rd March 2010)