Surveys reveal global state of the physiotherapy profession

Responses to the latest World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) survey reveal a significant rise in the number of physical therapists who are members of their national organsiation.

WCPT publishes data from its member organisations every year on a range of issues, including professional regulation, practice, education, and the number of employed physical therapists. This data provides a comprehensive and valuable global profile of the profession.

The most recent data is based on surveys completed by 105 of WCPT’s 120 member organisations in mid-2019. The high response rate, 87.5%, demonstrates strong engagement between WCPT and its member organisations and data reliability. The data gives a global snapshot of the physical therapy profession across the world, showing variations in the density of physical therapists in different countries and between WCPT regions. Highlights of the 2019 data include:

  • 70% of respondents said membership of their organisation had increased
  • 58% of respondents said there was direct access in their country and people could refer themselves to a physical therapist without a referral
  • 81% of respondents said there was no law preventing private practice in their country
  • globally, 66% of physical therapists are women – in three countries (Hungary, Myanmar, St Lucia) at least 90% of physical therapists are women

WCPT Chief Executive Jonathon Kruger said: ‘The responses to the surveys from our member organisations continue to provide rich and valuable international comparisons which WCPT and its members can use to influence policy decisions around health, health service delivery, human resource planning, and education.’

The country profile maps allow people to see how the global profession has evolved since 2013. The maps are an interactive resource that can be printed or downloaded, and can be accessed here.

Page updated December 2019