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The professional body governing physiotherapists is called Chartered Society of Physiotherapy ( CSP)

With disciplinary procedure/rules etc – this will depend on whether physiotherapist is registered with the HCPC. The rules for HCPC members are set out in brief below but also CSP members who fall outside HCPC

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Regulatory requirements
If you practise as a physiotherapist in the UK, you are required by law to be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the UK’s regulator for health and care professionals.

Update your HCPC profile
The HCPC’s role is to protect the public. It does this by setting standards for registration as a health and care professional and keeping a register of individuals who meet these standards.

HCPC standards relate to registrants’ education, professional knowledge and skills, behaviour (conduct, performance and ethics) and health.
The HCPC register is open to the public so that individuals and employers can check whether a physiotherapist (or other health and care professional) holds registration.

Access the HCPC register

Further information on professions subject to HCPC regulation

We deal with primary care NHS applications.

HCPC registration and standards

To gain HCPC registration, physiotherapists are required to demonstrate that they meet the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency for the profession. For physiotherapists who qualify in the UK, this is measured through their successful completion of a qualifying (pre-registration) physiotherapy education programme approved by the HCPC.

The HCPC’s criteria for programme approval, including the fulfilment of the Standards of Proficiency, are set within its Standards of Education and Training. (All qualifying programmes listed on the CSP’s website meet the HCPC’s requirements, as well as the CSP’s own accreditation criteria.)

Physiotherapist who qualified overseas are required to apply for registration with the HCPC and to demonstrate their fulfilment of the

HCPC Standards of Proficiency.

To remain on the HCPC register, physiotherapists have to continue to meet the regulator’s standards, going through a re-registration process every two years.

Within re-registration, the HCPC Standards for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are implemented. In this way, physiotherapists are required to demonstrate that they are undertaking activity to ensure that they remain up-to-date within their scope of practice.

Information on registration requirements including HCPC standards

Information on HCPC’s CPD requirements
The HCPC’s position on using annotations on its register
Maintaining registration across a range of physiotherapy roles (Frontline magazine)
Advisory notes relating to HCPC registration

The importance of keeping your registration up to date
It is essential, as a registrant, that you keep the HCPC informed of any change of address. Just as you would inform your bank or gas and electricity supplier if you move house, make sure you also contact the HCPC.
Falling off the register affects your livelihood. It also affects service delivery to patients. If you have changed address, you can update your details online.

Protected titles
The titles ‘physiotherapist’ and ‘physical therapist’ are protected by law. They may only be used by individuals who are on the HCPC register. Anyone using one of these titles who is not on the HCPC register may be subject to prosecution.

How the HCPC enacts its protection of title powers
Further information on protecting the public from unregistered practitioners can be found via the Professional Standards Authority (formerly the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence).

The Professional Standards Authority

Fitness to practise
‘Fitness to practise’ relates to registrants having the skills, knowledge and character to practise their profession safely and effectively. It is applied to guard against activity that could affect public protection or confidence in a profession.
If the HCPC receives a complaint against a registrant, it explores whether there is a fitness to practise case to be heard. If it deems that there is, it can enact its fitness to practise processes to explore whether the registrant’s status needs to be reviewed.
HCPC fitness to practise processes
CSP support for members involved in a fitness to practise case
The CSP considers individual members’ status with itself based on the outcome of any HCPC case against them as registrants.
For information about CSP processes for members who do not come under HCPC registration, see Professionalism and discipline for members outside HCPC regulation.

The HCPC states – When considering cases about fitness to practise, we take account of the standards we have published.
The two sets of standards we use are:

  •  the standards of proficiency (we publish a separate set of standards for each profession we regulate); and
  • the standards of conduct, performance and ethics (which are the same for all professions)

Standards of proficiency published by HCPC for physiotherapists are available in PDF format only

Also standards of conduct, performance and ethics apply

Website links
The CSP’s approach to Professionalism
CSP response to Law Commission review of health care professionals
HCPC consultation on student registration and fitness to practise processes
CSP response to HCPC consultation on annotating the register

Disciplinary procedures for CSP members outside HCPC regulation
This page outlines CSP expectations of professionalism and disciplinary procedures for members who do not come under HCPC regulation.
The physiotherapy activity of the following CSP member groups does not come under the statutory regulation of the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC):

  •  Qualified members whose physiotherapy practice relates to the treatment of animals
  • Associate (support worker) members
  •  Student members

These member groups are respectively defined in the following ways:

  • Physiotherapists who are eligible for HCPC registration (by virtue of their UK physiotherapy qualification or who qualified overseas and have demonstrated their fulfilment of HCPC requirements), but who practise on animals; on this basis, individuals are eligible to apply for qualified membership of the CSP and to hold the status of chartered physiotherapist[1]
  • Individuals employed in a support role relating to physiotherapy are eligible to apply for CSP associate membership
  • Individuals enrolled on a qualifying (pre-registration) programme in physiotherapy (for which approval by the HCPC approval is a condition of its delivery) are eligible to apply for CSP student membership.

The information below explains:

  • How the CSP Code of Professional Values and Behaviour relates to member groups who do not come under HCPC regulation
  • How fulfilling the Code as part of membership sits with the CSP’s enactment of disciplinary procedures for these member groups
  • The broader context of regulatory and standard-setting arrangements and potential developments within these


CSP membership and the Code of Professional Values and Behaviour
The CSP Code of Professional Values and Behaviour defines, in positive terms, what the CSP expects of all of its members, in all occupational roles and membership categories. It therefore applies to CSP student and associate members, and to qualified members who practise on animals.
The Code asserts high standards of behaviour, while supporting members in fulfilling their physiotherapy roles in rapidly changing environments. It reinforces the imperative that all members adhere to the law, regulatory requirements applicable to them, and the requirements of their employing organisations and education institutions.
Acceptance of the Code demonstrates members’ commitment to maintaining and enhancing the reputation and standing of the physiotherapy profession through their own behaviour and to fulfilling the broader social responsibilities that their physiotherapy role places on them
CSP disciplinary procedures
The HCPC handles complaints concerning the professional conduct or fitness to practise of physiotherapy registrants (whose practice relates to humans). The CSP considers individual members’ status with itself based on the outcome of any HCPC case against them.
Complaints received by the CSP regarding its members whose physiotherapy activity is not regulated by the HCPC (see above) are investigated by the Society through its own disciplinary procedures.
The CSP’s disciplinary procedures are defined by its Bye-laws and Statutes and are founded on its Rules of Professional Conduct.
The CSP Regulatory Board has responsibility for enacting the disciplinary procedures. The potential outcomes of enactment of the procedures are the suspension or removal of an individual from CSP membership.
Links and broader developments
CSP student members will find the following HCPC guidance useful in preparing for future registration as a qualified physiotherapist:

  •  HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students

Student members should also develop an awareness of the HCPC standards to which they will become subject once they qualify and secure registration:

  • HCPC Standards of Proficiency (Physiotherapists)
  • Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics: Your Duties as a Registrant

In 2012, the HCPC explored the potential introduction of registration arrangements for students preparing for the professions that it regulates:

  • HCPC consultation on student fitness to practise and registration

The CSP’s response to the consultation exercise can be found in the Consultation responses section of this site:

  • CSP response to HCPC consultation on student fitness to practice

As an outcome of the consultation exercise, the HCPC determined that student registration is not required at the present time.
It focuses its attention on promoting the development of students’ professionalism as they progress through pre-registration programmes and prepare for qualification, registration and employment as a registered practitioner. Information on HCPC work in this area can be found via the HCPC website.
Likewise, consideration is being given to the value of creating registration arrangements for health and social care support workers, and possible ways in which this could appropriately be done.
In December 2012, the HCPC published a position paper on the potential regulation of adult social care workers. Further information can be found on the HCPC site.
As developments occur across the UK relating to regulation and registration arrangements, the CSP will review the implications of these for its members and its approach to supporting its members’ professionalism.

Chartered physiotherapists who practice on humans, as well as animals, are required to hold registration with the HCPC. Their practice relating to the treatment of humans is subject to HCPC statutory regulatory requirements; see Regulatory requirements page.

Consult Hylton-Potts, the experts who offer fixed fees, and give excellent value.
We operate a free and confidential 24 hour email service. Just click on [email protected] or during office hours there is a free and confidential legal helpline 020 7381 8111