Advance Physio Solihull

Many people wonder what goes on in a physiotherapy clinic

by Advance Physio
May 4th, 2021

Many people wonder what goes on in a physiotherapy clinic and assume that it’s all about massage! That wouldn’t have been far from the truth 100 years ago when physiotherapy first became a profession, by Royal Charter in 1920. Four nurses who worked with injured soldiers, recognised the value of moving the soft tissues (in other words, massage) and wished to protect the reputation of the profession, since unscrupulous people were offering massage as a euphemism for other services. Thus began the Society of Trained Masseuses. Note the feminine. Nursing was an all-female profession at the time.

The Society’s name changed in 1920 to the Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics. I am highly amused by this title, with visions of people hanging from ceilings and performing all sorts of body bending activities, but what it actually meant was that the profession recognised the value of exercise, in addition to soft tissue mobilisation, as providing a clear route to recovery.

In 1944, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was born with training schools in all major hospitals throughout the United Kingdom. In 1953, her Majesty the Queen became patron and has supported the profession throughout her reign. In 1978, physiotherapists were granted professional autonomy. Physiotherapists no longer had to follow the doctor’s prescription when delivering treatment. In the early 1980s, courses gradually changed from a 3-year diploma course to degree courses associated with universities throughout the UK. By 1994, physiotherapy was an all-graduate profession.

The two pivotal developments within the profession were professional autonomy and the move to graduate level education. Both these steps enabled physiotherapists to apply more rigour to their approach to problem management. Research projects blossomed and physiotherapists were able to refer to a growing evidence base supporting aspects of the work they do.

Physiotherapists are now highly trained, often with master’s degrees or PhD, indicating the fervour by which we aim to provide treatment that works, as quickly as possible, with the best result. In 2012, appropriately trained physiotherapists were granted independent prescribing rights, for certain medicines, enabling them to reduce the steps a patient has to take when needing medication for their condition. In 2018, a new role was created, First Contact Practitioners. Physiotherapists are now installed in many health centres across the United Kingdom, assisting GPs in their work of assessing patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

Physiotherapists are highly respected practitioners within both the NHS and private care. They work alongside medical personnel, optimising the outcome for every patient in the safest and most effective way. In the hospital setting, they are in almost every clinical area, assessing and assisting patients and working in the team. More on what we do in our clinic next time!

Julia Kilby

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