Stakeholder perspectives of the Extended Scope Physiotherapy Practitioner (ESPP) role in Australia–a qualitative study

Louise Wiles, Steve Milanese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A recent advancement in physiotherapy in Australia has been the development of Extended Scope Physiotherapy Practitioner (ESPP) roles. However, compared to the UK, ESPP roles in Australia have generally been introduced in a piecemeal fashion. To assist with defining ESPP roles and credentialing requirements for ESPP in Australia, we felt it was important to engage with context-specific key stakeholders. This study sought to understand the perceptions of a range of key stakeholders on the ESPP role in Australia, using qualitative interview techniques. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were held with medical, nursing and allied health professional staff employed within an Australian health directorate who had reported experience with ESPPs. Findings: There was general consensus of the value of ESPP in improving the efficacy and efficiency of health service delivery, achieving positive patient outcomes and offering opportunities for interdisciplinary learning among colleagues. Participants agreed that physiotherapists were well placed to practice in an ESPP role in musculoskeletal clinical practice (orthopaedic clinics/ emergency departments), and that future opportunities may exist in the areas of women’s health, cardiopulmonary, and neurology physiotherapy. There was consistency that postgraduate courses should be accredited and tailored to the scope of ESP trainees. Core knowledge and skills required by ESPPs included ordering/interpretation of radiology, working with and educating staff from other disciplines, and triage, screening and early identification of musculoskeletal conditions. Finally, common barriers to the ESPP role in Australia were characterised as either ‘hard’ (legislative) or ‘soft’ (jurisdictional, professionally/culturally based).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Therapy Reviews
Issue number3-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Extended scope physiotherapy practitioner
  • Extended scope practice
  • Physiotherapy
  • Qualitative
  • Stakeholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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