Fred Hatlebrekke, President of the Norwegian Physiotherapist Association

Norwegian association wins fight to keep manual therapy part of PT

The Norwegian Physiotherapist Association is celebrating after Norway’s national government finally rejected a proposal to make manual therapy a separate profession from physiotherapy. This follows a long lobbying campaign by the association, backed by WCPT, its European Region and the International Federation for Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists.

Last year the Norwegian government first proposed classifying physiotherapists with additional qualifications in manual therapy as a new profession – the result of a campaign by a small association for manual therapists.

In a letter to the Norwegian Health Ministry, WCPT pointed out that this undermines the profession of physical therapy itself. “Mobilisation/manipulation have been core entry level skills of physical therapists since the beginning of the profession,” it said. Around 40 other organisations, including those representing doctors, nurses, patients, hospitals and colleges, also criticised the plans during consultation.

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services confirmed its rejection of the proposal on 3rd July, emphasising that internationally manual therapy is considered an additional education to physiotherapy.

Fred Hatlebrekke, President of the Norwegian Physiotherapist Association, had held meetings with ministers to state the profession’s case. 

“We are very pleased that the ministry now considers manual therapists as physiotherapists with additional training, and that they have taken into account the views of our association and a convincing majority of consultative bodies. We are very grateful for the support we got from WCPT in this matter, which was undoubtedly helpful.”

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