Some parents choose to seek advice and treatment from an independent or private physiotherapist either instead of, or as well as, NHS care.
What to do ... NHS or private physiotherapy, or both?
Choosing to go privately will allow you to choose a specific physiotherapist to treat your child and give you more flexibility regarding the timing of appointments. You may want to choose a physiotherapist who has specific experience with your child’s condition. You may have a specific physiotherapy intervention that you wish your child to have e.g. Bobath, Vojta, Treadmill Training. Within the private sector you can make these choices.
Physiotherapists in the NHS and private sector actively strive to work together to address the needs of any child they are both treating to ensure the best outcome for your child. You may be concerned about your NHS and private therapists liaising with each other, but having two therapists working together is usually better than having them work separately! There is a guidance document called Working Together which promotes good working practice.
If you choose to have private physiotherapy this should not impact on your NHS provision. A physiotherapist cannot simply stop NHS provision because you are accessing private physiotherapy. Communication between the two therapists enables them to discuss the needs of your child, plan the provision needed and decide how each can best meet these needs.
Information to consider about cost and payments
Children’s physiotherapists do not all charge the same ... charges will be based upon the clinician’s experience, area of the country they are working in and the field that they specialise in. Charges may also vary according to the nature of the intervention and if treatments are delegated to more junior members of staff or therapy assistants.
Charges will be dependent on the length of the treatment session. As a rough guide, you may be charged between £70 - £150 per hour.
You should also be aware that you will be charged for administration time ... including emails, phone calls, attendance at multi-professional meetings, liaison with other professionals, writing reports & programmes ... and for the physiotherapist's travelling time and costs (where applicable).
Assessments and reports for medico-legal work including tribunals, the writing of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)s or attending court will incur higher charges.
If your child has private health cover you will need to check with their provider whether their current condition is covered in their policy. It is essential that you are clear to your insurance provider about your child’s diagnosis because you will be liable / responsible for paying for sessions, if your provider does not pay.
It is wise to check whether the physiotherapist you choose is a recognised provider for your child’s condition. Many paediatric conditions will not be covered by health insurance.
Payment can be made on the day by cash or BACS, some will take credit card payments. Others will send you an invoice for payment within an agreed time frame, payment is then usually made by BACS.
Ensure that the physiotherapist clarifies all of their charges before you start treatment. Most will have a terms & conditions document that will state their charges for everything and also how they will bill you.
Find a Children's Physiotherapist
Physiotherapists follow a very similar training before they qualify and at some point choose to specialise in a particular field. A Children's Physiotherapist has chosen to work with children (paediatrics) and so will have additional expert knowledge and experience of child development and of childhood conditions.
Use APCP's online directory of APCP members in private practice (to be launched in October 2020) to find a Children's Physiotherapist to meet your child's needs.
The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists aims to promote good practice in paediatric physiotherapy, providing training and support for paediatric physiotherapists. Members listed on Find a Children's Physiotherapist have confirmed their competency to treat children and so will either be highly experienced or working under the guidance and supervision of a highly experienced Children’s Physiotherapist.