European Physiotherapy Benchmark Statement

It was originally developed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in collaboration with a number of other health care professions in the United Kingdom (UK) and was used by the European Region of WCPT and the Education Matters Working group to develop the European Physiotherapy Benchmark Statement. The Physiotherapy professional organisations contributed to this work at the Education Workshop in Cyprus 2001. The benchmark statement describes profession-specific statements for Physiotherapy and illustrates the shared context upon which the education and training of health care professionals rests.

Key Elements of the European Physiotherapy Benchmark Statement

Nature and extent of physiotherapy

The physiotherapist as a registered health care practitioner; expectations held by the profession, employers and public

  • Professional autonomy and accountability of the physiotherapist
  • Professional relationship
  • Personal and professional skills
  • Profession and employer context

Physiotherapy skills and their application to practice

  • Profession-specific skills
    Therapeutic exercise
    Manual therapy
    Electrotherapeutic modalities
  • Generic and enabling skills
    Communication and information technology (IT)
    Treatment planning
    Evaluation and research
    Personal and professional development

Physiotherapy: subject knowledge, understanding and associated skills

  • Scientific basis of physiotherapy
    Biological sciences
    Physical sciences
    Behavioural sciences
    Clinical sciences
  • Context of service delivery and professional practice
    Service/organisational issues
    Social and political
    Ethical and moral dimensions

What is the purpose of the European physiotherapy benchmark statement

The benchmark statements are used for a variety of purposes. They provide a means of describing the nature and characteristics of programmes of study and training and health care in physiotherapy. They represent general expectations about standards for the award of qualifications at a given level and articulate attributes and capabilities that those possessing such qualifications should be able to demonstrate. They are an important external source of reference for designing and developing new programmes of physiotherapy education. They provide general guidance for articulating the learning outcomes associated with the programme but are not a specification of a detailed curriculum. Benchmark statements provide for variety and flexibility in the design of programmes and encourage innovation within an agreed overall conceptual framework. The European physiotherapy benchmark statement also provides support in the pursuit of internal quality assurance. They enable the learning outcomes specified for a particular programme to be reviewed and evaluated against agreed general expectations about standards.

Finally, the European physiotherapy benchmark statement is one of a number of external sources of information that can be drawn upon for the purposes of academic review and for making judgements about threshold standards being met. The benchmark statement should be used by reviewers in conjunction with the relevant programme specifications taking into account documentation of relevant professional and statutory regulatory bodies as well as the institution's own evaluation document. This will provide a broad range of evidence to enable rounded judgments from reviewers rather than a crude check list.

Who should use the European Physiotherapy Benchmark Statement

The European physiotherapy benchmark statement can be used by national organisations, governments, health and education authorities, physiotherapy educators and others, who have an interest in providing education, in curriculum planning and development and for internal and external assurance of quality and standards.

The benchmark statement can also inform physiotherapists, managers, service providers and others delivering health care as it informs the level of attributes and skills of physiotherapists on entry to the profession.

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