What is Chartered Physiotherapy?

Musculoskeletal Chartered Physiotherapy is a speciality within the physiotherapy profession concerned with the clinical assessment and treatment of physical disorders of the human body. It is primarily aimed at alleviating pain, restoring movement, strength and ultimately function. For example a return to sport or other recreational activities as well as being able to fully engage physically in your working or home environment.

Physiotherapy applications

The coordinated function of the human body is an essential element of health but in certain circumstances can be threatened by:

  • ageing
  • injury
  • diseases
  • disorders
  • conditions
  • environmental factors
  • psychological factors

Functional movement and the ability to exercise plays a large part in your overall health and well-being. When physical problems occur and challenge our capacity to move and exercise, physiotherapy treatment can help.

Training and education in Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is sometimes referred to as 'Physical Therapy' in certain countries such as the United States where the terms are used interchangeably. In Ireland however, this should not be the case given Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists are trained very differently. This has caused much public confusion as well as creating a significant public health risk.

Unfortunately in Ireland, until recently, there was no legal protection of title to ensure the term Physiotherapist is used only by University trained allied healthcare professionals with a minimum 4 years of training (National Framework of Qualifications Level 8) including at least 1000 clinical hours according to the World Confederation of Physical Therapy accreditation criteria.

As such, it has been possible for anyone to undertake some limited training through part-time courses and then refer to themselves as a ‘physiotherapist’. Some ‘physios’ have no qualifications at all, which is a significant concern. The Irish government has addressed this issue by establishing the regulatory body CORU, which now regulates all allied healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists. CORU now regulates physiotherapy in Ireland and ‘physiotherapist’ is now a legally protected title. However, due to a ‘grandparenting process’, therapists, including physical therapists and others, have also been allowed to join the CORU physiotherapy register. These therapists may continue to use the title physiotherapist, which may cause confusion.

How can you be assured of safe Physiotherapy?

ISCPThe only way to ensure your Physiotherapist is a University trained allied healthcare professional with a minimum 4 years of training (NFQ level 8) and at least 1000 clinical practice hours according to WCPT accreditation criteria is to look for the term ‘Chartered’. This prefix may only be used by members of The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP). This also implies your Physiotherapist abides by a professional code of conduct and ethics and uses techniques which have been scientifically validated as being safe and effective for use in clinical practice.

The ISCP is the designated authority acting with the approval of the Minister for Health for the recognition of Physiotherapy qualifications in the Republic of Ireland (S.I.139/2008). The ISCP is also the only Physiotherapy group recognised by The Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE), VHI, AVIVA & all international health insurers.

It is worth noting that most health insurers usually only refund on Chartered Physiotherapy services.

It is therefore strongly recommended that members of the public check their Physiotherapy Clinic is providing Physiotherapy by professionals using the title 'Chartered Physiotherapist' implying successful registration with the ISCP.

Next: What Our Physiotherapists Can Do For You


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