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What State Regulation means for you

Statutory regulation protects the public by "promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence" (CORU 2014). Statutory regulation of physiotherapists is the responsibility of CORU, the regulatory authority established under the Health Act 2005 to regulate twelve health and social care professions including physiotherapy.  Under this Act CORU is establishing Registrations Boards for each profession.  Each Registration Board will establish a register and once this register opens you will only be able to use the title "physiotherapist" and practise as a physiotherapist in Ireland if your name is on this register. It is expected that the Physiotherapy Register will open within the next 18 months. 

Once open only physiotherapists with qualifications recognised by the Physiotherapists Registration Board, who are of good character and are fit to practise, can be on this register, call themselves physiotherapists and work as physiotherapists in Ireland.
How does one register?

Registration for Physiotherapists is not yet open. Once open you must apply to the Physiotherapists Registration Board so that your qualifications, character and competence can be assessed. Only when your application is successful and you have paid the required fee can you be on the register. 

The Physiotherapists Registration Board will require registrants to maintain their competency throughout their career and this will be assessed by reviewing a registrant's professional development and learning

The Physiotherapists Registration Board will also be responsible for a process called Fitness to Practise". This process deals with any complaints against registrants. Hearings will generally be held in public, although there is provision in the Act for a complaint to be held in private, in the public interest.  The outcome of hearings will be published on the CORU website.  A registrant found guilty of an offence under this process may face sanctions up to and including being removed from the register. It will also have the legal power to prevent non-registrants from using the protected title and/or working as a physiotherapist without being registered.

Because the Physiotherapy register is not yet open the Society currently performs these functions, on behalf of the Minister for Health, through its Accreditation & International Qualifications Working Groups and through its Professional Procedures and Ethics committee. In addition the Society is actively working to prepare its members for registration and to ensure supports are in place to help them maintain their registration once open.


How is membership of the ISCP different to registration on the Physiotherapy register?

The ISCP is a professional body that supports and represents the physiotherapy profession in Ireland. Our role is to advocate on behalf of our members and support them in their professional careers. In the absence of a live state register the Society also acts to maintain the standard of professional conduct amongst Chartered Physiotherapists and currently acts, on behalf of the Minister for Health, as the designated authority for physiotherapy in Ireland, accrediting the entry to practice physiotherapy qualifications in Ireland and recognising the qualifications of International Applicants.

Currently Physiotherapists working in the Irish Health Service must be eligible for membership of the Society. This accrediting function will transfer to the regulator once the register opens. 

In the lead up to State Regulation of Physiotherapy one of the Society’s primary goals is to assist its members in preparing themselves for registration and once the register opens in assisting them to maintain their registration and further develop their careers. Unlike the Regulator the Society not only focuses on Patient Safety but also on the development of Physiotherapists and the profession as a whole. 


State Regulation and Physical Therapy

The International Professional Body for Physiotherapists, the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT), claims exclusivity to the professional names “physical therapy” and “physiotherapy”. It further asserts that the professional titles “physical therapist” and “physiotherapist” and all abbreviations referring to these titles (eg “PT”, “physio”) are the sole preserve of persons who hold qualifications approved by WCPT’s member organisations. The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) is the sole Irish member organisation of the WCPT and as such is the only organisation recognised internationally that has claim to both titles.  Unfortunately in the absence of regulation in Ireland, another profession has attempted to claim the title of "Physical Therapist". This causes considerable public confusion and the ISCP are advocating for both titles to be protected by regulation, for the sole use of physiotherapists.