Direct patient access for physical therapists in Norway

I have long argued that Norwegian physical therapists with advanced post-professional training in Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy, are qualified to practice independently and to serve as the first point of patient entry into the health care system. However, current graduates of Norway’s physical therapy educational programs who have not had additional intensive advanced training and supervised practice, do not yet meet this standard.

The Norwegian government is currently considering legislation to permit direct patient access for all Norwegian physiotherapists. This action would be premature. At least four teachers in Norway’s physiotherapy schools have publicly stated that physiotherapy curricula in Norway is inadequate. They recommend a minimum 5-year educational program with expanded academic and clinical training as a prerequisite for independent practice in which practitioners accept patients without physician referral. I agree.

I have written a brief article on this subject, published in Dagens Medicin, a Norwegian clinical publication: