Posted on: 22 December 2020

Johanne Watson, CNWL’s Chief Physiotherapist and Head of Physiotherapy and Paramedic Professions, writes:

“This year Physiotherapists celebrated 100 years of Royal Charter. Covid has meant we – and our 250 CNWL Physios - have not been able to have celebrations across the Trust. As soon as it is possible, we will, both of the Centenary of the Chartered status and of the contribution Physiotherapists make to rehabilitation today.

The Royal charter was given to The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (then called The Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses), on 11 June 1920 by King George V in recognition of the work Physiotherapists did to rehabilitate soldiers injured in the First World War. It is a co-incidence that our centenary of the Royal Charter is in a year when Physiotherapists are working to rehabilitate large numbers of people, young and old, affected by Covid-19.

A Royal Charter is a prestigious way for an organisation to acquire ‘an independent legal personality’ and it reflects the high status of an organisation.

The Royal Charter officially granted four broad pillars of practice, which were defined at that time as:

  • Massage
  • Medical gymnastics [now known as exercise and movement]
  • Electrotherapeutics
  • Kindred methods of treatment

Physiotherapists in the UK can only describe themselves as ‘chartered physiotherapists’ after they have:

  • Completed a qualifying physiotherapy programme of study
  • Secured Health and Care Professions Council registration
  • And become a CSP member

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