What is Chartered Physiotherapy?
Musculoskeletal Chartered Physiotherapy is a specialty 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.
The coordinated function of the human body is an essential element of health but in certain circumstances can be threatened by:
- 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 there is 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 is possible for anyone to undertake some limited training through part time courses and then refer to themselves as a Physiotherapist. In fact, some ‘physios’ have no qualifications at all which is a major concern. The Irish government is attempting to deal with this issue by implementing a new regulatory body (CORU). Unfortunately this is unlikely to fully protect the title Physiotherapist for exclusive use by University qualified Chartered Physiotherapists as is the case throughout the rest of the world.
How can you be assured of safe Physiotherapy?
The only way to ensure your Physiotherapist is a University trained allied healthcare professionals 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 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. However, there are occasions when confusion amongst the insurers themselves are not always aware of the differences between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy in Ireland.
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.
For more information please read this related article: What it means to be a Chartered Physiotherapist..
Our aim at Mount Merrion Chartered Physiotherapy is to provide (and well exceed) a minimum standard of Physiotherapy expected of a Physiotherapist practicing in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and South Africa where proper regulation and protection of title is in place.