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What is in a name? Quite possibly public safety
  1. Emma K Stokes
  1. Correspondence to Emma Stokes, Department of Physiotherapy, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland;

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A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newspaper where an individual was described as a ‘physio’ and a ‘physical therapist’ in the context of a national Olympic team. In reading this description, one would assume that the person in question was a physiotherapist or physical therapist with a recognised professional qualification, registered with a regulatory authority. Not so in Ireland, where the Minister for Health has yet to protect both the titles of physiotherapist and physical therapist in the interest of public safety. Currently, anyone can call themselves a physiotherapist, physio or physical therapist and have no qualification whatsoever. This may also be the case in any part of the world where regulation of the profession does not exist.

The professional title and term used to describe the profession's practice varies and depends largely on the historical roots of the profession in the country. The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is the global professional representative organisation for the professions and has 112 member organisations. WCPT claims exclusivity to …

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  • Competing interests EKS is a former member of the Board of the ISCP and the Physiotherapists Registration Board. She is currently the President of WCPT.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.