Physical Therapist – Protection of Title Consultation

Protection of title is a core function of the Health and Social Care Professionals Council and the registration boards established under the Act. It is vital that when people access the health services that there is no ambiguity in relation to the profession and the competence of the health service provider that they are attending.

The Physiotherapists Registration Board is currently preparing the necessary bye-laws under the Act to allow it to establish its register in the coming months. The title of physiotherapist will, as a consequence, be protected under the Act for the exclusive use of the board’s registrants when the register’s 2-year transitional period ends in 2018.

Last year, the Minister for Health, consulted with the Physiotherapists Registration Board and thereafter wrote to a number of relevant organisations about the question of also protecting the title of physical therapist under the Act.

In January of this year, the Minister concluded that prescribing the title of physical therapist under the Act as a variant of the title of physiotherapist would be the best way to eliminate the ongoing risk of title confusion and the consequent risks to public safety.

The Minister also decided to allow particular existing users of the title physical therapist who are not physiotherapists but who hold qualifications of a certain standard to continue to use the title. New grand parenting provisions will allow such practitioners to apply, on a once-off basis and for a limited period, to register in the physiotherapists register.  After this period only qualified physiotherapists will be permitted to register.

The registration board’s code of professional conduct and ethics will ensure that all registrants, including those registered under the new provisions, act within the limits of their knowledge, skills, competence and experience.

The Department is now preparing the necessary legislation to give effect to the decisions.

Letters of invitation to agencies for submissions – June 2015

Letters of invitation – submission date extended and enclosures sent – July 2015

Submissions received – September 2015

Letters from the Minister advising key stakeholders of his decision – January 2016