Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions raised with full answers on a variety of topics. Click on the area that covers your query.

Quality Assured Clinic

Help for PPE decision making in private practice

We work in a variety of settings and with a variety of patient groups. We need to make our own risk assessments decisions within the guidance but as a minimum, our requirements are gloves (patient specific) disposable apron ( patient specific) water resistant 11R mask (session specific) and we need to undertake a risk assessment about the wearing of goggles/face guard.

Requirements may be different for those working in neuro/paediatrics/domiciliary or in care homes. Please see below for your guidance.

Access to personal protective equipment (PPE)

It is imperative that members follow up to date government guidance on PPE when seeing patients face to face. Members will find tables 2 and 4 on the page the most helpful. 
Members providing services in domiciliary and care home settings will find the following information useful.

Having access to the appropriate PPE which is suitable for both the clinical environment and clinical intervention must be a deciding factor on whether to proceed with a face to face contact.

The CSP has extensive guidance on PPE
This includes the frequently asked questions (FAQs):
-    What PPE should I use when treating patients?
-    What PPE should I wear when working with post COVID patients in rehabilitation settings?
-    What should I do to effectively wash my uniform?

Further PPE guidance in FAQs for private practitioners
Includes the question:
-    How do I procure PPE and what PPE should I be using if I need to see an urgent or essential patient face to face? 

Last updated 15.07.20

How is part-time subscription defined?

A part-time subscription level has been created for private physiotherapists that work 20 hours or less and work for a clinic working towards Quality Assured Clinic (QAC) status by collecting data on all their new patients where possible. This new part-time subscriber category allows part time colleagues to pay a proportionally lower subscription rate and allow them to participate in a QAC status.

To apply for this rate, your practice must confirm in writing that you meet the definition of a part-time subscriber, and you work 20 hours or less per week. You must also begin to collect patient outcome data on Data for Impact (DfI) and be collecting PROMs within one calendar month of joining Physio First. Part-time subscription is not available to practice principals, sole practitioners or those who are not participating in DfI.

When joining Physio First as a part-time subscriber you will be asked to input the number of hours you work through our join online application.

Private physiotherapists who work alone or are the practice principal and have a stake in the business then you are not eligible for part-time subscription.

Please read our Terms and Conditions for Part-time Subscribers and working towards gaining the Quality Assured Clinic status.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

How do I join under the QAC Participation Programme?

Our new QAC (Quality Assured Clinic) Participation Programme will allow a full member (Practice Principal) to register all their physio team members for the Data for Impact (DfI) scheme and have their clinic work towards the QAC status for a low-cost annual subscription. This replaces our current Part-time Subscriber rate.

Please visit our QAC Participation page by clicking here.

[Reviewed - April 2022]

How does my practice become a Physio First Quality Assured Clinic?

To become a QAC you and your MSK colleagues will need to continue inputting your data if you are already doing so or start now. Our University of Brighton team will download your data and will confirm those clinics to be awarded via email. Data downloads and QAC assessments will run alongside QAP assessments in January, May and September.

Here’s the criteria for becoming a QAC:

  • All clinic staff must be collecting their patient data through Data for Impact. To do this, each team member will receive their own login, username and password and will also be collecting PROMs.
  • All clinic MSK practitioners must be Physio First members or part-time subscribers, no matter their employment status – self-employed associate or employee (Part-time subscription is not available to practice principals, or those who are not participating in DfI). If you have any full time physiotherapists that need to join, you can benefit from significant discounts via Refer a Colleague (Our Refer a Colleague scheme is not open for part-time subscribers, please see our T&Cs here).
  • This is open to all clinics of any size, from single-practitioner clinics to multi-practices.
  • If you have part-time colleagues they can still participate through our new part-time subscription. They will be assessed on a pro-rata basis based on the number of hours they work.

Clinics will have their individual data amalgamated into one clinic report once consent is obtained from each participant. Only the practice principal will receive the clinic report. Individual participants who are also QAPs will have their own individual reports which can be used for CPD and peer review purposes.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

How do I, as a practice principal, apply for QAC status?

You need to apply to the University of Brighton, who will send you a declaration form where you enter all the names of your MSK practitioners and the number of hours they work.

The University will then contact each practitioner, who must be actively participating in Data for Impact, to obtain their consent to amalgamate all of their data into your clinic report.

This report will then be tested against the criteria agreed between the University and Physio First and if you reach or are above the baseline then your clinic will be awarded Quality Assured Clinic status for the following twelve months.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

What if all my practitioners are not treating MSK patients

This is fine you will not need to add them to your declaration as their data will obviously not be able to be entered into the DfI tool as this is for MSK patients only at present.

[Reviewed – March 2019]

I am a single-handed practitioner, can I apply for QAC status?

Yes, the only additional requirements over QAP status is a declaration by you to confirm that you are the only MSK physiotherapist in your practice. So, you need to:

  • Contact the University of Brighton who will send you a declaration form which you need to complete to confirm that you are the only MSK physio in your clinic
  • Have collected 50+ discharged datasets within 12 months
  • Be collecting PROMs
  • Reach criterion testing – for details please click here to read our FAQ ‘Which parts of our analysed data make up the Physio First QAP baseline?’ - see here

[Reviewed - March 2019]

How will I receive clinic reports?

You will have to apply to UoB who will amalgamate all the data from your clinic, once permission is obtained from your practitioners and there is sufficient data, the University will then pass the report to you as practice principal.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

I'm a practice principal how do I confirm the part time status of a member of my team, what do I do?

Annually sign a declaration sent to you by UoB, on application, stating the number of MSK staff in your clinic and providing the UoB with the number of hours they work a week when you apply for testing.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

What is an on hold membership subscription?

Physio First's membership is split into different membership categories; Full, Affiliate, Non-practising and Honorary life.

Within our Constitution, (click here to read) under point 4.3 Non-practising membership is stated as "Non-practising membership shall be open to those Chartered Physiotherapists who have previously held Full Physio First membership but who are currently not practising as a physiotherapist at all".

This membership lasts for a maximum of 2 years for an annual price of £40 (rates at 2018).

Below are some examples as to why you may wish to convert to Non-practising:

  • Maternity leave
  • On a break from practising
  • Personal reasons
  • Long term illness
  • Any reason that may prevent you from practising.

How to put your data on hold

To put your membership on hold please contact Physio First by emailing us at

If you are collecting data via our Data for Impact project, your data can also be put on hold by contacting UoB by emailing them on

What to do when returning back to work

When you have returned to work and practising fully you can then convert back to Full membership or part-time subscriber and start collecting data.

[Reviewed - March 2019]

Do I receive a certificate and special QAC logo?

The clinic will receive a certificate and QAC logo which will be sent by Physio First and the practice principal will receive this.

Once data has been extracted and tested the UoB will send through a clinic report to your practice principal, if you have been successful in testing you will have to send through the email you get to

[Reviewed - March 2019]

How often will my clinic be re-assessed?

Your QAC status lasts for a 12-month period. Once this is due to expire you will need to apply to UoB for retesting at the next download of data. QAC testing runs alongside our QAP testing  from data downloads in January, May and September each year if your clinic has collected sufficient data sets in the past 12 months and are collecting PROMs.

[Reviewed - March 2019]



Are insurance companies supporting remote consultations?

We are aware of many insurance companies that will now support remote consultations e.g BUPA, AXA PPP Nuffield and Aviva. See our Physio First e-booklet on “how to connect to your patient here and see the CSP pages on remote solutions here.

What has Physio First done about GDPR compliance?

As Physio First we have had to go through exactly the same processes as everyone else.

In a nutshell, we have had to complete an audit to determine the legal basis upon which we process personal data and then produced our privacy statement.

For a copy of our Audit – see here

For a copy of our Privacy Statement – see here

[Reviewed - December 2018]

What help can Physio First provide about GDPR compliance?

As Physio First we have had to learn about the new GDPR rules along with everyone else.

In doing so, we were acutely aware of the danger of directing members to so-called experts who simply re-hash what is available at no cost from the Information Commission’s Office website, as well as the danger of directing members to services that prove inadequate.

From December 2017, we had planned and worked with our transformational partner Blue Zinc, who ran nationwide evening workshops on how to become GDPR compliant and which proved very popular and very helpful.

From April 2018, and based upon really helpful and favourable feedback from our members on our private trusted LinkedIn forum we came to an agreement with our strategic commercial partner Painless Practice, to enable members to have access to a package, that includes templates, that they had developed with Technology Tamed.

So for access to the:

-       Blue Zinc webinar – cost £20 – see here

-       Painless practice GDPR package to include templates – cost £150 – see here

[Reviewed - December 2018]

Does Physio First have templates for GDPR compliance?


Having learned about what it takes to be GDPR compliant and having listened to members, as Physio First we have come to an agreement with our strategic commercial partner Painless Practice for member access to templates developed by them and Technology Tamed for the same rate as a Painless Practice customer.

The list price is £295, but as part of our agreement Physio First members can have access to these templates and supporting material for the Painless Practice customer rate £150.

Details of the package and how to order it can be found here

In feedback from members on our private trusted member only LinkedIn Forum, members have articulated their various approaches to GDPR compliance. From using the free information on the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website with others using combinations of Blue Zincs webinars and the Painless Practice package – see here – with still others using local external services.

[Reviewed - December 2018]


Data for Impact

Is it acceptable to collect data during a patient’s treatment?

We are also aware of the HCPC Physiotherapy Standards of proficiency - Standard 12 which can be found here

This includes the requirement for registrant physiotherapists to recognise the need to monitor, evaluate, and assure the quality of practice and recognise the value of contributing to the generation of data for quality assurance and improvement programmes.

For the collection of data to become a recognised part of patient care, there does need to be a change in culture that we feel confident can be led by Physio First members who join our Data for Impact (DfI) project and who also become Quality Assured Practitioners (QAPs). It really boils down to communication between the clinician and the patient, so that our patients can learn the value of data collection to patient care.

Collection of data during a patient’s treatment session is, in our opinion, not only acceptable but an inevitable development that is supported by the HCPC regulations. It will, however take time for this practice to become something that we all feel comfortable in deploying. 

[Reviewed - September 2018]


Practice Information

For how long should a physiotherapist retain their records of patient consultations and treatments?

Records must be retained in accordance with existing policies and current legislation.

a) Records must be retained for a minimum of 8 years after the conclusion of treatment.

b) Obstetric records must be held for 25 years.

c) Records relating to children and young people must be kept until the patients 25th birthday, or 8 years after the last entry if longer.

d) Patient records must be stored securely at all times.

e) Computerised physiotherapy records must be registered under the Data Protection Act 1984.

f) Records can only be released with the patients permission.

g) A patient or carer must be made aware that the patients records may be accessed in accordance with health authority policy.

h) A procedure must be in place for patients to access their post November 1991 records.

[Reviewed - December 2018]

Is there a set hourly rate for seeing patients on a private basis?

Each private physiotherapist sets their own scale of charges. We are unable to supply information regarding charging rates due to the Competition Act except in certain circumstances and then only to Members of the Organisation. The best way to find out the charges is to contact local practitioners. These can be found through the Find a Physio service on this website.

[Reviewed - December 2018]



Can pacemakers be affected by machinery used by physiotherapists?

Some machines used by physiotherapists as part of their treatment modalities can affect pacemakers.

Each machine varies with regards to the distance considered to be within a harmful range of pacemakers and so we advise that you contact the manufacturers of any machine you are concerned about for accurate information.

The patient also should have advice from the hospital where their pacemaker was fitted, and this should be obtained and heeded. Generally, however advice relates to how a patient with a pacemaker, and in direct use of such a machine might be affected and not how machinery may affect people in the environment of your clinic as, normally, you would need to be very close to a machine for it to have any effect on a pacemaker.

Machines that may have a potentially harmful effect on the general public, such as those emitting radiation, should be shielded appropriately.

[Reviewed - December 2018]


Physio First

How much does it cost to join Physio First?

Full Membership:

Physio First membership year runs from 1st April until 31st March, If you join Physio First as a Full member in April your membership will go until the 31st March 2023, the cost is £240.

This is made up of:

  • £240 for April 2022 - March 2023 Subscription

Affiliated Membership:

Physio First membership year runs from 1st April until 31st March, if you fulfil the requirements of an Affiliate member and join in April your membership will go until the 31st March 2023, the cost is £221.

This is made up of:

  • £221 for April 2022 - March 2023 Subscription

Please note that Affiliate membership is open to physiotherapists who are employed in a private practice, the practice principal or physiotherapist manager of which is a full Physio First member.

Journal Subscription:

Journal subscription costs only £40 and members receive copies of our Quarterly journal In Touch.



Pay-as-you-go membership

As a membership organisation we are owned and governed by you.  

We have been working hard behind the scenes to improve our offer to Private Physiotherapists. We are pleased to announce a new pay as you go membership that gives you month-by-month access to all the benefits of Physio First with no contract – no hidden clauses. 

Pay as You Go Membership costs per month*: 

£22 for a full member 

£20 for an affiliate member 

£11 for a part-time subscriber 

*These rates are subject to change in line with our annual subscription rate.

Please read our Terms & Conditions about our subscription.


Sign-up here and start benefiting from the Physio First community.


[Reviewed - July 2021]

The Physio First rebrand; How and Why?

The rebrand of Physio First required much consideration to align its new image and brand 'feel' with its intent.

Physio First is changing. But why are we changing and, more importantly, what does it mean for us as members?

In our edition of InTouch Summer 2016, Physio First’s outsourced Marketing Director; Laura Pegg answered a Q&A section about our re-brand and will help you all understand the reason to our re-brand.

Read the story of its conception *here

*InTouch Summer 2016 reference

[Reviewed - June 2018]


Other useful Information

AXA PPP: a brand to be trusted?

You will no doubt remember our article in our May 2016 edition of Update about AXA PPP’s apparent change to their proposed cuts to their physio panel, and the letter to them published from our General Secretary Paul Donnelly.

Since then (and at the time of writing) we have had no substantive response to this communication. We have also had no response to an invitation to their representatives to meet with our General Secretary and Chairman.

In an email to them dated 27 June 2016, Paul pointed out that:

“I do not appear to have had any response to my email to you of the 13th May and our Chairman and I would be grateful if you could reply.

In addition I have been notified that AXA PPP’s Specialist Relationship Advisor has been communicating ‘I can confirm that Mr Donnelly has been in contact with Julia and having discussions for the past six weeks’.

Both the lack of any reply and such statements are worrying because, other than our brief chat on the telephone, we have had no discussions or communications with you or indeed anyone else at AXA PPP during this very worrying time for our members.

In the circumstances could we please hear from you (or someone at AXA PPP) with a substantive response to the points in my email of the 25th March?”

As a significant stakeholder in the private physiotherapy healthcare marketplace, we are very careful to remain professional at all times. This means communicating with those that contact us, even if we are in dispute with them.

We have understood that the essence of a good brand is “trust”. So our question to AXA PPP remains as per Paul’s email to them on 25 March 2016:

“Are you able to give us an explanation to enable us to understand what decisions you have made, why you have made them, why the decisions are irreversible and why (if at all) our members should not have to move to a position of simply not trusting AXA PPP going forward?”


Update - July 2016 "It's all about relationships..."