physiotherapist at work

22. March 2022

improving conditions of the physiotherapists in the uk

All of us know too well that the NHS is under extreme pressure.

They’re underpaid, understaffed, and are overwhelmed with patients.

Although we may be empathetic, this doesn’t help when we’re in need of medical intervention from a doctor, nurse, or physiotherapist.

To try and remedy this, the NHS patient commitment ‘18-week referral to treatment guarantee’ was put in place.

In theory, this works for initial consultations and surgery but what about recovery?

It’s becoming evidently apparent that there’s a necessity to increase the physiotherapist workforce to address waiting times and needs in meeting patient demand.

Challenges Faced by Physiotherapists in the UK

Being a physiotherapist is a noble profession that requires a lot of dedication and hard work.

The UK is home to a strong physiotherapist workforce who work tirelessly to provide the best care possible to their patients.

However, there are some challenges faced by our physio workforce.

  • Low pay

  • High workloads

  • Elevated stress levels

  • Lack of adequate training opportunities

As highlighted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, the number of patients being treated by a physiotherapist has been on the rise and the physio workforce is not being increased proportionally to meet this need.

Recommendations to improve the physio workforce

CSP has made many recommendations to the government on how to improve the recruitment, training and retention of the physiotherapist workforce.

The recent consultation offers the following recommendations:

  • Improve recruitment and retention of the physiotherapist workforce.

  • Support and invest in physiotherapy education, training, and development

  • Introduce physio workforce targets and time limit referrals.

  • Provide sustainable long-term funding to expand physiotherapist support roles

A 2017 report by NHS England revealed that there was a shortage of filling 6,000 full-time physiotherapist vacancies.

This alone demonstrates the need to expand the physiotherapist workforce and increase funding to relieve service pressures and serve patients better.

With Britain’s ageing population needing more care and an increase in long-term conditions, reformation of management, rehabilitation, prevention, and anticipation are needed.


  • Improve patient waiting times

  • Specific diagnosis

  • Reduce incorrect referrals

  • Ensure correct care is received

  • Personalised care plans

A physiotherapist is vital in improving patient flow

A physiotherapist is a vital part of the healthcare team and in providing wrap-around care.

They are responsible for assessing and treating patients and providing physical rehabilitation to help people recover from injury, illness, or disability.

A physiotherapist often works in hospitals, but can also be found in clinics, private practices, and other healthcare facilities.

The physiotherapist workforce is vital in improving patient flow and quality care.


  • Advice

  • Exercises

  • Stretches

  • Massage

  • Manipulation

  • Electrotherapy

  • Ultrasound

  • Acupuncture


  • Remain independent for longer

  • Assist in reducing pain and swelling

  • Management/recovery pre or post-surgery

  • Help patients regain their mobility

  • Teach them how to use assistive devices such as canes or crutches.

The NHS is always faced with budget cuts.

Yet, if the government provided more flexibility, better resources, and support services to newly trained or retrained physiotherapists. The physio workforce would be able to adequately increase, relieve service pressures and serve patients better.

Giving patients the power of choice

The NHS is the world's largest publicly funded health service and has been providing physiotherapy services to patients for over 70 years.

However, the way it provides these services is changing.

The NHS is making a move to give patients the power of choice when it comes to their physiotherapy needs.

The increase in demand for these services and not enough resources available, has resulted in long waiting lists and delayed care. Causing further health-related problems for patients.

The NHS has introduced self-referral for physiotherapy services in order to make it easier for people to access treatment.

This change will give patients power over their own care and help them get the treatment they need faster than ever before.


  • Getting a referral from your GP

  • Contacting a physiotherapist directly

  • Seeing a physiotherapist at GP surgery

  • Attending a private physiotherapy clinic

In some cases, direct access to physiotherapy means that patients can request an appointment with a physiotherapist without seeing a GP or other healthcare professional first.

Now being able to self-refer for physiotherapy treatment on the NHS or choose private providers to offer treatment as well; gives patients the power to choose their own care, treatment, and support.

The NHS provides a list of physiotherapists you may be referred to. When choosing a private physiotherapist clinic, ensure they’re a fully qualified member of a recognised body such as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CPS).

CK Physio: A physiotherapist near me

CK Physio wants to get you the treatment that you need, fast!

Our physio workforce is fully qualified and registered, complying with the best practices set by the NHS UK to support the needs of our patients.

We offer physiotherapy services that are up to date with the latest developments and technologies in the field, through virtual and in-person sessions.

Don’t wait in line any longer!

Use our online booking form to book your virtual consultation to discuss your needs and requirements. Plus, ask any questions or queries you may have regarding treatment.

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