About APPN

The Advanced Practice Physiotherapy Network (APPN) supports advanced practice roles across all sectors and specialities of physiotherapy practice in the UK and beyond.

The network was formed in 1995 to support physiotherapists working in extended scope physiotherapist (ESP) roles.  The founding members developed the role for physiotherapists to work with orthopaedic surgeons to help reduce the waiting times for patients attending orthopaedic clinics.  Physiotherapists developed ‘extended’ skills to encompass tasks that previously were undertaken by the medical profession, such as requesting investigations, listing for surgery and injection therapy. As the scope of practice of physiotherapy grew and then these ‘extended skills’ became embedded in practice the title of ESP needed to be updated. In May 2018 the Extended Scope Practitioners Professional Network renamed as APPN to reflect current practice.

APPN started with the modest number of 35 members, became a professional network in 2006 and in 2024 has grown to over 1600 members. The APPN is a self-governing body that is responsible for its own financial and organisational liabilities. Although allied to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) APPN sits as a separate legal entity and organisation.

APPN works closely with the national bodies such as the CSP, the NHS regulatory body in each of the four nations, national speciality specific partnerships and aims to support and influence decision-making when appropriate. The APPN brings current and expert clinical knowledge to inform work, including policy development, influencing government policy, consultation on the national evidence base and other consultations that can support patient care and physiotherapy role enhancement.

Over the past 20 years there has been considerable development of physiotherapy and other allied health professional roles to meet the demands of healthcare moving into the 21st century.  Physiotherapy roles demand innovation, flexibility and a desire to learn new skills and push new boundaries.

So, what is advanced practice and how is it different to ‘regular’ practice? Advanced practice reflects the four pillars of physiotherapy practice and is a high level of expert practice across these four pillars: clinical practice, education, leadership and management and research. APPN supports members from enhanced to advanced to consultant practice along with those aspiring to work at these levels.  Physiotherapists in AP roles work with a high degree of autonomy, use complex decision-making within multi-professional teams, and work across the health and social care system to enable quality and integrated care influencing across the healthcare system.

The APPN aim to continue to work on behalf of its members to champion advanced practice in physiotherapy in all areas of health and social care, we offer mentorship and support and would love to encourage our members to become involved in our work.

Michelle and Tim

(updated 6/2/24)