United Kingdom: a profile of the profession

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The data has been provided by Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and to the extent possible are a true reflection of the situation in the country, however not all figures are authoritative and should be interpreted accordingly. For questions or feedback please contact [email protected]

Reference year: 2019

 View the 2019 global country/territory profile maps

Summary report for United Kingdom
Professional name
Official names:
  • Physiotherapist  (Protected by law)
  • Physical therapy  (Protected by law)
  • Physio  (Protected by law)
Membership
Number of physical therapist members:
47,643
Female%
75%
 
Entry level student organisation:
Yes, represented by the WCPT member organisation
Practicing physical therapists
Number of practicing physical therapists:
56,037    (Authoritative*)
Female%:
75%
 
Support personnel part of workforce:
Yes
Note: *this data has come from a registration authority, a government source or statistical agency.
Publications
Journals:
Special interest groups recognised by United Kingdom
Recognised special interest groups:
  • Amputee rehabilitation
  • Aquatics
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal practice
  • Cardiorespiratory physical therapy
  • Electrophysical agents
  • Intellectual disability
  • Management/administration (includes leadership, medico-legal, professional standards and best practice)
  • Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Orthopaedics/manual therapy
  • Occupational health and ergonomics
  • Older people
  • Oncology/palliative care
  • Pain (includes pain management, pain research)
  • Paediatrics
  • Private practitioners
  • Sports physical therapy
  • Womens health
Physical therapist professional entry level education
Number of programmes:
74
Finishing education level (minimum):
Bachelors degree
Equivalent fulltime years:
3
 
Entry level programmes
  • Bachelors degree
  • Masters degree
  • Professional doctorate
Note: qualification levels are consistent with ISCED 2011 levels
Post professional degree programmes
Post professional programmes
  • Post graduate certificate
  • Post graduate diploma
  • Masters degree
  • PhD
Physical therapist specialisation recognised by United Kingdom
Recognised specialisation:
None
Practice
Scope of practice defined by:
A partnership between a regulation/licensing/registration body and the WCPT member organisation
Standards of practice:
Yes, more than one
 
Education for autonomous practice:
Yes
 
Legislation to prevent private practice:
No
 
Physical Therapists are permitted to:
  • Act as first contact/autonomous practitioners
  • Assess patients/clients
  • Make a diagnosis
  • Treat (interventions, advice and evaluation of outcome)
  • Refer to other specialists/services
  • Offer preventative advice/services
 
Direct access* permitted:
Yes
Can people self refer to physical therapists in private practice:
Yes
Will this be reimbursed:
In part
 
Can people self refer to physical therapists in the public system:
Yes
Limitations:
Yes - Not all services in the National Health Service (NHS) provide self-referral. Currently about 30% of the NHS physiotherapy service providers offer self-referral http://www.csp.org.uk/professional-union/practice/self-referral
* Direct access - a person can refer themselves to a physical therapist without referral from another health professional
Regulation
Registration required to practice:
Yes
CPD* required for re-registration:
Yes
CPD* required for membership:
No
 
The system of regulation in the country/territory:
Health and Care Professions Council http://www.hcpc-uk.org/
* CPD - Continuing Professional Development

Other available reference years: 2017  2018