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The Rheumatology Physiotherapy Capabilities Framework has been launched to provide a national framework for rheumatology physiotherapy. Developed by leading rheumatology physiotherapists and endorsed by BSR and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, it's the first of its kind to provide evidence-based support for UK physiotherapists in rheumatology and musculoskeletal (MSK). It aims to support service delivery, role development and commissioning.

Read the framework

Will Gregory, project lead and Consultant Physiotherapist at Salford Royal Hospital: “Our research revealed we were losing physiotherapy colleagues to other specialities, especially those at advanced practice and highly specialist levels. The capabilities framework provides a stronger structure to allow rheumatology physiotherapists to progress and develop within the specialty.”

The framework increases understanding of physiotherapy capabilities, helps to prioritise investment, and provides a reference for rheumatology and MSK triage services throughout the UK. It's supported by a wide expert working group and involved an extensive external review process.

Dr Carol McCrum, Consultant Physiotherapist in MSK and Rheumatology at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and project lead, said: “This framework is an essential document for anyone working in MSK and rheumatology. It sets out minimum standards, highlights the specialist knowledge unique to the rheumatology workforce and helps to standardise patient care.”

Project lead Hannah Chambers, an Advanced Practice Physiotherapist in Rheumatology at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As well as upskilling the current workforce and providing a career pathway, we need to build up the next generation. This framework is crucial to evolving the role, increasing awareness and having a workforce fit for the future.”

The resource is relevant for all roles involved in delivering care to people with rheumatology conditions, as well as clinicians who screen for these diseases in the wider MSK community. Commissioners and regulators will find the framework useful to set standards and identify skill gaps.

Hear from the project leads