Letter to Secretary of State, dated 24 June 2020

Dear Secretary of State, dated 24 June 2020

The Sports Therapy Association (STA) represents many of the estimated 4000 Graduate Sports Therapists (GST) and Graduate Sports Rehabilitators (GSR) in the UK.

We are writing to you today with regards to the updated guidance from the Department of Health on the 23rd June in which Physiotherapy, Osteopaths and Chiropractors have been given the approval to open their doors to treat patients who are in pain.

Whilst we welcome this news, and recognise the challenging balances that need to be made with regards to opening up the economy and managing the spread of Covid19, we would also like to bring your attention to the fact that GSTs and GSRs are not in the list and therefore remain unable to treat patients and to earn a living, according to this advice.

Could you please clarify why GSTs and GSRs have been excluded from the list?

Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists directly compete with GSTs and GSRs in the private sector. Most are autonomous practitioners and they treat patients in the same way as Physiotherapists. The risk of transmitting Covid19 for a GST or GSR is essentially the same as it is for a Physiotherapist.

It is important to note that GSTs and GSRs, have a Degree level education specialising in athletic injury management but also appropriately qualified to treat general MSK conditions.

Sports Therapists and Sports Rehabilitators treat members of the public who have musculo-skeletal pain and they are able to do so with minimal hands on techniques.

As we exit from lockdown it is important to ensure that there is a level playing field in the healthcare industry. We urge you therefore to allow Sports Therapists and Sports Rehabilitators to treat patients under the same restrictions that are in place for Physiotherapists.

The current guidance allows and in fact incentivises private Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists to take the work that would be normally done by Sports Therapists and Sports Rehabilitators

This has the potential to significantly disadvantage the Sports Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation industry, as competitors to are allowed to treat patients using identical techniques. This comes after over three months in which Sports Therapists and Sports Rehabilitators have strongly adhered to the lockdown criteria and have not treated their patients at all.

The Sports Therapy Association stands ready to provide guidance to the Sports Therapy industry to ensure therapists understand safe practices and the procedures that need to be adhered to when treating face to face patients that have not responded to remote treatments.

We therefore urge you to update the guidance for Sports Therapists and Sports Rehabilitators to allow them to practice in line with the guidance that currently exists for Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists. We would also very much appreciate an explanation as to why Sports Therapists have not been included to date. We would also like to request a meeting so that we can brief you on the measures that the Sports Therapy industry is taking and will take to ensure a safe reopening of the economy.

Yours sincerely


Gary Benson
Director STA

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