Do you want to become a Quality Assured Practitioner?

Join Physio First and be part of our ground-breaking Quality Assured Practitioner scheme.

Become a member today

Become a member of Physio First and unlock a wealth of benefits.


Our Quality Assured Practitioner (QAP) scheme is available to full and affiliate members of Physio First who have submitted sufficient patient outcome data into the Data for Impact tool to achieve the QAP mark.

QAP's will have met the criteria defined by Physio First in collaboration with the University of Brighton and be collecting validated PROMs (Patient Recorded Outcome Measure).

We've created an eBooklet that gives you everything you need to know about Quality Assured Practitioner. It explores how they will help you and has sections that you can share with your patients. Just click the image for your own copy. 

Feel free to share it on your website, emails and social media.

Read our FAQs

For any questions you may have about our QAP scheme, find the answer here:

What exactly is a Physio First QAP?

A Physio First QAP is a Physio First member who has input data using the online DfI system, who collects PROM data from their patients and whose DfI data reaches  the QAP criteria as defined by Physio First in collaboration with the University of Brighton. QAP is valid for one year, renewable annually with sufficient data collection.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

Why do we need this scheme?

Society and the healthcare marketplace in 2016 demands authenticity. Validated data can be turned into evidence of this in so many ways.

As individuals in everyday life we give and share data everywhere we go – from interactive fitness apps to retail reward cards to hotel loyalty discounts.

In the healthcare marketplace, authenticity means being able to prove our cost effectiveness – our value for money. In our world as self-employed private practitioners, this is demonstrated by measurable quality treatment with outcomes. 

[Reviewed - September 2018]

I want to be a member of Physio First and am happy to collect data but don’t feel I want to become a QAP. Will this matter?

No of course not. There will be some of us who choose not to become a Physio First QAP because this sort of scheme does not match our own business model, type of practice, future plans or time of life. Physio First will continue to benefit all members.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

I only work part time, I would love to be QAP as I think I can achieve this, but it will take me a very long time to collect sufficient data sets. Is there anything I can do?

As we have launched our QAC scheme in September 2018 this was something else that our R&D sub committee needed to consider. We needed to reflect working hours with the number of data sets required but we were working out how we could do this and still be able to say confidently that “we have enough data to prove quality”. Now we have launched our QAC, please see our FAQs on our QAP/QAC page here.

In order to be assessed for QAP, as a sole practitioner only, you need to input 50 completed data sets within a 12-month period. If you work within a private clinic which is owned by a Physio First member and working towards QAC (Quality Assured Clinic) then you can be part of the team as your hours will be taken into account in proportion to the whole clinic. In this case you would not get individual QAP but be a member of a QAC.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

I am a sole practitioner – all my patients are returners or recommended by other patients and are mostly self-paying. Why would I join the scheme?

We are sure that, as private practitioners, we all want to feel confident enough to shout about our quality and ability to prove our worth through our outcomes. The public understand the words “quality assured” and to be able to market ourselves as such through our Physio First QAP and QAC kite-mark will not just feel good, but will future-proof our practices.

We have a plan to market our QAP and QAC schemes vigorously to all marketplace stakeholders to include directly to the public. The more QAPs and QACs we have, the more effectively we can do this.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

Did Physio First develop our QAP scheme for insurers or commercial intermediaries?

On both counts the answer is absolutely not!

Before we get into the meat of the answer to this question it is important to remember who Physio First is i.e. we are an organisation of self-employed private physiotherapists that are run by volunteer colleagues. Our ethos, as has been articulated many times since 2013, is not to work “for” members but to work “with” members.

The easiest way of describing what this latter point means is that for Physio First to continue to attract volunteers we had to become an organisation of colleagues “working together”.

So, with this background in mind, it is important to remember that every Physio First volunteer (with the sole exception of one) is a self-employed private physio who has experienced much the same as most other members to include that of feeling disrespected by private medical insurers and even more so by commercial intermediaries.

So, to answer the question – Did Physio First develop our QAP scheme for insurers or commercial intermediaries? Physio First did NOT develop our QAP scheme for insurers or commercial intermediaries! We developed it due to long deliberation upon the question “how do we empower Physio First members in the changing healthcare marketplace?

In an attempt to summarise these long deliberations, we would add:

  • The world and our marketplace is changing, which means that we have to adapt as well
  • In most of the discussions that our representatives have had with marketplace stakeholders, from Physio First members themselves, to the CSP, to forecasters, to private medical insurers and commercial intermediaries, to our interaction with overseas private physio organisations (commercial as well as professional) the inexorable move is towards all marketplaces demanding some validated measure of quality in healthcare
  • It has happened in other sectors e.g. we, as individuals, routinely go on-line to gauge the quality of a product or service – for a service this often means searching consumer blogs or websites like TripAdvisor
  • Following all of this, it is our judgment that “if” Physio First does not take a lead in this then some other marketplace stakeholder will which would inevitably come in the form of:

So, all of these sorts of deliberations combined with the fact that through annual funding from the charity PPEF, massive support from Physio First volunteers and members alike and a contract with our dedicated University of Brighton team, as Physio First we have been collecting and developing the process for collecting and analysing standardised data since 2005.

In all that time we had developed not only expertise in standardised data collection (through an academically validated tool), but in its interpretation and in its publication. Just look at the reports that, as Physio First, we have published with the University of Brighton over the years, to view please click here - note you will have to log in as a member to view these.

What these published reports told us was that, as self-employed private physios, the analysed data really does demonstrate that we are genuinely as good as we think we are.

So, with all of this as the background, our Quality Assured Practitioner scheme became an obvious thing to develop. A tool that would enable any member who wants to, to demonstrate, with the full backing of a highly regarded academic institution, a means of being able to say “I am a quality assured practitioner and I can demonstrate that I am!”

It is also a quality assured standard that we, as self-employed private physios, own and control as Physio First. Something that many of the marketplace stakeholders really dislike!

So back to the question - Did Physio First develop our QAP scheme for insurers or commercial intermediaries?

The answer is quite the reverse. We developed it to avoid Physio First members from having to jump to “quality standards” that inevitably would be imposed upon us.

So, there is no chance of Physio First, who you will remember is run by colleague self-employed private physios, of selling our QAP scheme or mortgaging it, or in any way “giving it” to organisations that we do not regard as strategically or culturally aligned to Physio First. It is there for us, as members, to use in our marketplace to set ourselves apart from others who do not (perhaps cannot) reach these levels – or even to set ourselves in line with those who can. Remember, we are not the only musculo-skeletal profession trying to do this!

A parting thought – our Physio First QAP scheme is not to be feared. The analyses that has been done already as part of the first and second ever round of QAP assessment demonstrates that the vast majority of members who collect data through our Data for Impact scheme, are awarded QAP status.

Even more than that, if any member struggles to reach the baseline, our whole Physio First education strategy is there to support them as it now exists “to support our members towards and within our Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner scheme”. That is all the courses we run, our annual conference, our quarterly journal In Touch and our R & D subcommittee. No one has to fail – at the very worst, one just has to wait a little until one’s clinical outcomes reach the baseline and we are all there to support you!

Finally, we are developing a long list of FAQs about our QAP scheme that will develop to answer any question you may have, but above all to reassure all members that our Physio First QAP scheme is ours – and we intend to use it to promote the interests of our members – and that is guaranteed!

[Reviewed - September 2018]

What if my practice is non-MSK focused? Can I become a QAP?

Not yet. Our 2016 Practice Profiling survey demonstrated that more than 90% of Physio First members have MSK as their main specialty. However, in the next phase of our journey, Physio First will investigate how our QAP scheme can be expanded to include other physiotherapy specialisms in private practice.

That said, our other 4 Big unique member benefits apply to all members whatever their expertise, so Physio First remains the “go to” organisation for all self-employed private physios.

[Reviewed – September 2018]

How do I become a Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner?

All applicants must be inputting data into our continuous web-based Data for Impact (DfI) project and must have submitted sufficient data on a minimum number of discharged patients to receive an individual report.

Our full Physio First data bank is analysed independently by the University of Brighton and it is from this data that a baseline for defining robust and defendable “quality” will be set. Any participating practitioner can be termed a Physio First Quality Assured Practitioner if they demonstrate outcomes in our individual data that are above this baseline and their patients submit data from a validated PROM which verifies these outcomes.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

How has the baseline been set?

Our Physio First Research & Development Sub Committee, together with our University of Brighton team, have agreed realistic outcome levels based upon an “equation” of outcomes that directly relate to questions in our DfI tool. It is these outcomes that together form our QAP baseline.

We have already established that we have sufficient geographical coverage of current participants to demonstrate that our national data bank is representative of our whole membership – which is both fabulous and unique.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

Which parts of our analysed data make up the Physio First QAP baseline?

The following areas of our DfI tool form the agreed Physio First QAP baseline “equation”:

  • Goal achievement
  • Outcome of referral
  • Number of treatments
  • FPS (functional, physical and subjective) score changes between initial and discharge appointments
  • Time between referral and commencement of treatment.

In addition to these, a validated PROM will need to be used by each Physio First data collector as these provide the independent patient perspective. The next step within the development of our DfI project will be to enable it to automatically collect PROMS (patient recorded outcome measures) directly from the patient and match them to the data collected by the individual clinician. This gives a further but necessary layer of independent validation.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

What will happen if my individualised report doesn’t meet the QAP/QAC criteria?

There will be some of us whose data might not quite meet the criteria for QAP/QAC in that although 50 data sets may be submitted within the 12 month time frame, their DfI data may not achieve the minimum of 3 out of the 5 criteria needed. The UoB will contact all  members to let them know which criteria did/or did not achieve the national standards. This will then enable individuals to target these areas for improvement through their CPD. Physio First as an organisation will never know which members do not meet the standards and these members will NEVER be identified by the UoB in any circumstance.

In addition, our education programme will be targeted towards broad areas, identified by the unstacking of our data, to where member outcomes would benefit the most from CPD.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

If I become a Physio First QAP, do I have to be part of this separate Goal 9 entity?

Absolutely not. As with everything, this will be an individual business decision. You may wish to market your Physio First QAP status directly to your patient group. Alternatively, you may wish to join with others where you share the risk of entering the marketplace as a profit sharing supplier of physiotherapy and then of course share the rewards of success once trading.

[Reviewed – September 2018]

What might an organised network of Physio First QAPs be able to achieve?

As Physio First, we have had a plan in place since 2013 to work towards the creation of a business entity or business entities that are private practitioner owned and that can compete in the marketplace with private medical insurers, commercial intermediaries and even expand self-employed private practice beyond its current boundaries.

Since then our working title for this project is “The Physio Co-op”.

We have published information on what has amounted to a huge investment of time and energy in trying to establish a blueprint of what it takes to construct such an entity, with the greatest chance of succeeding.

To track the activities that have been undertaken to date and/or to keep up with our current activities and thinking please follow our regular newsletter The Core. All editions can be found in the members’ section of our website.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

Will outcomes continue to be monitored after first achieving Physio First QAP status?

Yes, practitioners are required to input their DfI data on a rolling basis each year. By continually inputting data practitioners will have the opportunity to be assessed three times a year. If they have managed to input 50 discharged data sets then they will receive feedback from the UoB team and an individual clinic report. This process ensures that Physio First data collectors constantly meet the baseline as without this sort of ongoing monitoring, the credibility of our whole scheme would be undermined.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

I would like my whole clinic to be a QAP clinic. How do I do that?

In September 2018 we have launched our Quality Assured Clinic scheme, please see our FAQ here ‘How does my practice become a Physio First Quality Assured Clinic?’ or see our QAC benefit page.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

I already collect all my own clinic data, is that not enough?

Of course, we should all already collect our own data, and many do this through a practice management software system but the difference with our Physio First DfI collection project is that the data collected is through a validated standardised data collection system. Your individual or clinic data is then analysed by a third party (the UoB) against the national average in our growing data bank. This results in the UoB team being able to measure “apples with apples” independently of any individual bias. The data we collect within our own practices is not standardised nor analysed by a third party and so is not defendable in the same way.

[Reviewed - September 2018]

Log in to read this article

Become a member of Physio First and unlock a wealth of benefits

Join Physio First today – the UK’s leading professional organisation for private physiotherapists.

Members of Physio First gain access to one of the most valuable business tools in private physiotherapy practice today. Get business advice, professional support, evidence-based marketing reports, special product discounts, CPD courses, invitations to national and regional events, networking opportunities, regular news updates and much more!

Our wealth of membership benefits keeps you ahead in the fast-moving healthcare marketplace.

Join us today – and start getting the benefit!