Notice Type
General Section
Notice Title

Scopes of Practice and Qualifications Prescribed by the Physiotherapy Board

1. Commencement

This notice comes into force on 1 March 2022.

2. Replacement Scopes of Practice

Pursuant to section 14(1) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (“Act”), the Physiotherapy Board replaces all previous notices that describe the following scopes of practice with the respective descriptions below:

A. Scope of Practice – Physiotherapist:

Physiotherapists provide person and whānau-centred healthcare and work with people and populations to develop, maintain, restore, optimise, and understand health and function throughout the lifespan. Physiotherapists identify and maximise quality of life and movement potential encompassing physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Physiotherapists should also be cognisant of Māori health models. Physiotherapists provide evidence-informed care as autonomous practitioners.

Physiotherapists may practise in a variety of contexts depending on their educational preparation and practice experience. The practice of physiotherapy is not confined to clinical practice and encompasses all roles that a physiotherapist may assume including health management, research, policy making, educating, and consulting, wherever there may be an issue of public health and safety.

B. Scope of Practice – Physiotherapy Specialist:

Physiotherapy specialists are expert physiotherapists who have advanced education, knowledge and demonstrated competence to practise beyond the level of an Advanced Practice Physiotherapist in a specified vocational area. Physiotherapy specialists provide person and whānau-centred healthcare to manage the most complex, difficult or critical patient presentations in their area of practice, often as a point of expert review, opinion or referral.

Physiotherapy specialists demonstrate leadership in consultancy, education and research. Physiotherapy specialists work collaboratively with the physiotherapy profession and within the wider health system. Physiotherapy specialists utilise their physiotherapy knowledge and expertise to actively participate and take a leadership role in professional activities, including local and national strategy and policy development.

3. Replacement Qualifications for Scopes of Practice:

Pursuant to section 14(1) of the Act, the Physiotherapy Board replaces all previous notices that prescribe qualifications for the following scopes of practice with the respective qualifications prescribed below:

A. Scope of Practice – Physiotherapist – Qualifications:

  1. Pursuant to section 12(2)(a) of the Act:
    Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy), Auckland University of Technology; or
    Bachelor of Physiotherapy, University of Otago; or
    Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours, University of Otago; or
    Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Waikato Institute of Technology; or
    Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours, Waikato Institute of Technology; or
  2. Pursuant to section 12(2)(c) of the Act:
    A pass in an assessment set by the Physiotherapy Board for persons holding a physiotherapy qualification gained overseas; or
  3. Pursuant to section 12(2)(d) of the Act:
    Registration as a physiotherapist with an authority in an Australian jurisdiction that performs functions that correspond wholly or partly to those performed by the Physiotherapy Board under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

B. Scope of Practice – Physiotherapy Specialist – Qualifications:

  1. Pursuant to section 12(2)(b) of the Act:
    successful completion of a minimum of a Master’s degree that:
    requires a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (or equivalent) for entry to the degree programme; and
    is relevant to clinical physiotherapy practice; and
  2. Pursuant to section 12(2)(c) of the Act:
    successful completion of the assessment set by the Physiotherapy Board for registration as a Physiotherapy Specialist.

4. Scope of Practice – Advanced Practice Physiotherapist (APP):

Pursuant to section 11(1) of the Act, the Physiotherapy Board describes the following scope of practice:

Scope of Practice – Advanced Practice Physiotherapist (APP):

Advanced Practice Physiotherapists (APPs) have advanced education, clinical training and demonstrated competence to practise clinically beyond the level of a general scope physiotherapist in a specified vocational area. APPs manage or lead episodes of care in partnership with health consumers, their whānau and other health professionals.

APPs combine advanced physiotherapy knowledge and skills with advanced clinical reasoning to provide person and whānau-centred healthcare. APPs provide advanced assessment and management interventions such as triage for specialist clinics and second opinions for complex cases.

As APPs, they work across healthcare settings, influence health service delivery and the wider profession, and are involved in mentoring, supervision, teaching, or research.

5. Qualifications for APP Scope of Practice:

Pursuant to section 12(1) of the Act, the Physiotherapy Board prescribes the following qualifications for the scope of practice Advanced Practice Physiotherapist (APP):

Scope of Practice – Advanced Practice Physiotherapist (APP) – Qualifications:

  1. Pursuant to section 12(2)(b) of the Act:
    successful completion of a minimum of a Master’s degree that:
    requires a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (or equivalent) for entry to the degree programme; and
    is relevant to clinical physiotherapy practice; and
  2. Pursuant to section 12(2)(e) of the Act:
    at least five years of post-qualification full-time equivalent (FTE) clinical experience with at least three years of full-time equivalent clinical experience relevant to a nominated area of physiotherapy practice in the six-year period immediately prior to the date of the application.

6. Revocation:

Pursuant to section 14(1) of the Act, the Physiotherapy Board revokes all previous notices that describe the following scopes of practice or prescribe the qualifications for those scopes of practice:

Scope of Practice – Postgraduate Physiotherapy Student

Scope of Practice – Visiting Physiotherapy Presenter / Educator

Dated at Wellington this 14th day of December 2021.

ROSS JOHNSTON, Registrar, Physiotherapy Board.