A clean bill of health

February 3, 1995

Roger Ellis reveals some misconceptions about physiotherapy and the professions allied to medicine generally. He appears to consider the inclusion of disciplines such as anatomy, physiology and psychology within professional curricula as evidence that a native research tradition has yet to establish itself in the therapies.

The fact is, however, that physiotherapy is fundamentally based on anatomy and physiology, and its study involves a unique synthesis and practical application of these and other scientific disciplines. Some of the current physiotherapy research that Ellis denies is occurring in fact relates to the physiological field.

Ellis also suggests that "students and ultimately clients are being short-changed" by the predominance of three-year degrees. While it would clearly be advantageous for education to be more generously funded, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the CPSM do not validate degree programmes, whatever their length, unless they are shown to be capable of producing safe and competent practitioners.

Lastly, Ellis suggests that external examiners in the therapies are "relatively inexperienced" and advocates a return to common national examinations as a solution. This seems an extraordinary proposal from a dean of the university which pioneered degree programmes in this field.

The CSP believes that those who teach degree programmes are best placed to assess them, and that course planning, teaching and assessment are inter-dependent activities. A return to national examinations would destroy these educational freedoms and advances.


Director of education,

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

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