Analysis of the opinions of medical community and patients regarding legal regulations on the profession of physiotherapist in Poland
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Introduction Physiotherapists have been calling for regulations regarding their job for years. The main reasons for their fight to implement these regulations included caring about patients' safety, improving the quality of services and increasing professional independence. In September 2015, the President of Poland signed the Act on the Profession of Physiotherapist (APP). The controversial items in the Act mainly referred to the Professional Self-Government as well as rights and duties of physiotherapists. The aim of the work was to analyse and compare the opinions of medical community members (including physiotherapists) as well as patients on the key guidelines of the APP. Material and methods A questionnaire that included 20 questions regarding the guidelines of the APP was applied in the study. Internet links to the questionnaire were sent via email to randomly selected respondents from three groups, i.e. physiotherapists (PT), representatives of other medical professions (OMP) and patients (P). Results The author received 177 completed questionnaires (PT n=67, OMP n=40, P n=70). The majority of the respondents in all the groups were 20-40 years of age (PT, OMP, P). Doctors of various specialisations constituted 67% of the OMP group. In this group, 17.5% of the respondents did not approve of the professional self-government of physiotherapists, while in the P group, 17% of the respondents expressed the same opinion. The majority of the respondents in all the groups (P – 54%, OMP – 70%, PT – 85%) believed that physiotherapists should select physiotherapeutic procedures independently. In turn, 15% of the respondents from the OMP group, 21% from the P group and 7.5% from the PT group indicated that procedures should be selected by a rehabilitation doctor. Conclusions It was noted that there is a need for raising awareness regarding the job of a physiotherapist and for promoting it in the society but also among the representatives of OMP. Legal changes on the market of services provided by physiotherapists require educating in terms of new legal regulations. There is also a need for further research on opinions regarding the changes in the physiotherapy sector.
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