Monday of this week saw the introduction of a new regulation aimed at strengthening the autonomy of physiotherapists in Luxembourg.

In accordance with a government programme, similar to that of the health professions of chiropodist, osteopath or speech therapist, a Grand-Ducal Regulation determining the status, powers and rules of practice of physiotherapists. Published on 12 November 2018, the new law modifies that of 24 September 1969 and has been developed in close collaboration with the Luxembourg Association of Physiotherapists (ALK).

According to Minister of Health Lydia Mutsch, the regulation "gives the physiotherapist the opportunity to offer the most appropriate treatment to the needs of the patient and thus to position themselves as a professional actor in this care and not just a simple performer."

In connection with the progress of medicine in acute curative care and the results of research carried out in the field of physiotherapy, the role of the physiotherapist is extended to the different areas of prevention and rehabilitation, in the context of multidisciplinary care involving for example physiotherapists, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists or psychologists. As a liberal profession, the physiotherapist must be authorised to perform all acts for which they have training validated by a competent authority.

The new regulation similarly preserves the right of free access to physiotherapeutic care for patients for whom "[m]assage and rehabilitation treatments can be performed by the physiotherapist without a medical prescription," explained Lydia Mutsch.

Furthermore, in the interest of harmonising European education systems and diplomas, the level of training for physiotherapists has gone from a BAC + 3 to a BAC + 5. Indeed, the training courses offered to physiotherapists in different European countries are mostly Master level. Following an evolution of the rehabilitation treatments and techniques of the physiotherapist, access to this regulated profession is thus subject to obtention of a Master diploma of higher education in the field of massage-physiotherapy of a total of at least 300 ECTS or a higher education qualification equivalent to a Master's degree in the massage-physiotherapy field.

In addition, the recognition of physiotherapy training at the Master's level also aims to allow the development of research and professional evaluation practices in this specific area and thus its recognition as evidence-based practice as is already the case for other health professions.