Policy and standards

WCPT aims to improve the quality of global health by encouraging high standards of physical therapy research, education and practice. It produces research-based policies which set out WCPT’s agreed opinion on issues affecting physical therapy internationally. They have become widely used and important tools for informing health and social policy and furthering the development of the profession and service delivery. Most policies are supported by additional resources, such as guidelines and web-based information.

Professional issues

Many of WCPT’s policies set down its position on important professional issues: for example, the autonomy of the profession, regulation and patients’/clients’ rights. These set expectations and provide an international framework for others to work to. Some WCPT policies also provide useful working definitions – for example on how physical therapy should be described.

Practice issues

WCPT sets out its position on practice issues that affect physical therapists globally: for example, direct access, evidence-based practice, specialisation, informed consent and standards of physical therapy practice.


WCPT provides policies, guidelines, services and information covering professional education in all its aspects. As well as producing standards and guidance, it provides advice and support for member organisations, educational establishments and other bodies, in raising educational standards to meet the WCPT guidelines.

Social and world health issues

As part of its commitment to furthering global health, WCPT draws up policies and guidelines on a wide range of social and world affairs issues that have a significant impact on the wellbeing of populations and the work of physical therapists.


WCPT has developed, and continues to add to, a glossary to support its policy and guidelines work – to ensure consistency in terminology and to aid international interpretation. It can also be used as a resource to support the policy work of member organisations, regions and subgroups.