Physiotherapy Support Worker

Physiotherapy Support Workers usually work under the direction of registered and qualified physiotherapist. They support Physiotherapists in helping patients to restore their mobility and improve movement.

Physiotherapy Support Workers help provide care to patients with a range of conditions, including:

  • neurological (stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's)
  • neuromusculoskeletal (back pain, whiplash associated disorder, sports injuries, arthritis)
  • cardiovascular (chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after heart attack)
  • respiratory (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis)

As well as assisting Physiotherapists, they also work with other healthcare professionals, such as Occupational Therapists, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Prosthetists, Orthotists and Nurses. 

As a Physiotherapy Support Worker, you would assist the Physiotherapist with patient care and treatment. You could work with patients of all ages in a range of clinical areas, such as:

  • care of the elderly
  • day hospitals
  • cardiac rehabilitation units
  • medical
  • surgical
  • orthopaedics
  • mental health
  • musculoskeletal out patients
  • paediatrics
  • stroke unit

Physiotheraphy Support Workers spend a lot of time helping patients. Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • setting up equipment
  • showing patients how to use mobility aids
  • helping patients prepare for treatment
  • working on exercises with patients
  • writing reports and updating patient records

You would normally be based in a hospital physiotherapy department, but you could also work in the community. Some Physiotherapy Support Workers are based in health centres, nursing homes, day centres, schools or treat patients in their own homes.

To become a physiotherapy assistant, you will need to have:

  • a good level of physical fitness
  • tact and sensitivity
  • the ability to motivate and encourage others
  • teamworking skills
  • excellent communication skills
  • practical skills when using gym equipment or demonstrating exercises
  • good organizational skills

Useful abilities include:

  • an interest in health and physical education
  • the ability to remain calm in difficult or challenging situations
  • the ability and confidence to work with groups of people
  • able to follow instructions and procedures
  • the ability to explain treatment to patients

To apply for a job as a Physiotherapy Support Worker, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths. Previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

The specific entry requirements will depend of the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary, depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7. Find out more about qualifications for healthcare support workers on the SQA website.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

Depending on the role, you will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local NHSScotland board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

During your career, you may have the opportunity to study for qualifications, such as an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7. You could also study for an SQA HNC Allied Health Professions: Physiotherapy Support. Find out more about qualifications for healthcare support workers on the SQA website.

Find out more information from these professional bodies.

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) 

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)

CSP is the professional body and trade union for physiotherapists, students and support workers in the UK. It aims to promote high quality patient care through education, campaigning and by supporting advances in research. You can join as an associate member if you are working as a Physiotherapy Support Worker.

Find out more on the CSP website.