The Physiotherapists Registration Board will soon make the necessary bye-laws under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 to allow it to establish its register early next year. The title of physiotherapist will, as a consequence, be protected for the exclusive use of the board's registrants when the register's 2 year transitional period ends in 2018.
I am currently examining the issue of also protecting the title of physical therapist under the Act. In the rest of the English speaking world the titles of physical therapist and physiotherapist are interchangeable and their users are qualified physiotherapists. In Ireland, however, the title is used by a number of practitioners who are not physiotherapists but who are competing with physiotherapists in the private sector in the provision of musculoskeletal therapies.
Earlier this year, having consulted with the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, I wrote to a number of relevant organisations regarding my proposal to protect the title of physical therapist as a variant of the title of physiotherapist and invited them to submit their views. The submissions are now being examined and I expect that I will make a decision on the matter before the end of the year that ensures public protection and appropriately addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties.