Adequate remuneration for Physiotherapists in South Africa

Physiotherapists in South Africa have been discriminated against in terms of representativity, career pathing, remuneration and employment opportunities. There has been undisclosed cold war against the profession. The relevance of the profession is actively mitigated against every single day. Weekend services rendered are not being remunerated appropriately, remuneration at exit level for physiotherapists in government institutions/ hospitals is equivalent to income at entry level for professionals of the same NQF. (National Qualification Framework). Physiotherapists  with additional qualifications and further studies are not recognised and remunerated accordingly. Further qualifications in management, health care and public health does not transform to any meaningful income, promotion or senior management opportunities. The profession is being made redundant by active non-recogntion at all level of healthcare policies and decision making.

The professions of lower NQF have been incorporated to the same level as PHYSIOTHERAPISTS.

This is an injustice for the profession and for all professionals that practice the profession.

We demand that physiotherapists be recognised at the same NQF level with professions of the same NQF level.

We demand that physiotherapists be remunerated with commuted overtime just like some professions are granted.

We demand that physiotherapists receive additional remuneration for each additional qualifications received.

We demand that additional qualifications for physiotherapists should grant them relevant positions at senior managers level.

We demand that physiotherapists be translated to higher remuneration level such that their assessment, diagnosing and therapeutic skills and competence be adequately remunerated.



For the purpose of further elaboration


The NQF- (National Qualification Framework) positions a newly qualified Physiotherapist on NQF level 8 which is equivalent to other healthcare professionals but the salary levels are different. (  (

A physiotherapist is a first line (contact) practitioner indicating that a physiotherapist can assess and evaluate a patient as the initial healthcare provider, establish a diagnosis within the physiotherapy scope of practice, plan the treatment and execute. Furthermore, a physiotherapist can request further investigations to establish a diagnosis and refer patients for further management. Not many professionals of diagnostic back-ground or non-first contact role can do that. (Physiotherapists should not be grouped together with such professionals)  (  (  To further emphasize first-line / contact practitioner.

The physiotherapists hence have a duty and role well above professionals that are only discharging duties conducting investigations, diagnostic interventions, acquire, store and issue only in as much as all roles are important.

The physiotherapists have a role above professions mixing, ordering, storing, and issuing only.

The physiotherapists have a role in almost all areas of specialities and sub-specialities in medicine which includes and not limited to intensive care unit, haematology, orthopaedics, neurology, neuro surgery, ENT, maxilla-facial, reconstructive and plastic surgery, explorative surgery, medicine, palliative care, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology rehabilitation amongst many other specialities.

The physiotherapist role involves all the neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory, vascular, cardiorespiratory aspects of the patients that are treated.

The physiotherapist role is inclusive of weekend and after hours’ interventions.

The physiotherapist with post-doctoral degrees and masters’ degree do not have any form of recognition or remuneration.   Physiotherapists work after hours and on weekends to ensure that optimum recovery of patients is achieved within very short period of time by preventing complications, improving functions, reassuring patients and restoring dignity to patients who could have lost hope through rehabilitation.

The pre and post operation intervention of physiotherapists cannot also be undermined. Their involvement in HIV/ AIDS which includes early intervention and rehabilitation is also of importance in the present day health care delivery.

Gatekeeping professions with their large numbers have resorted to achieve adequate remuneration through large numbers and position within the healthcare decision and policy making.

The National Policy on Commuted Overtime by the National Department of Health must include physiotherapists also and not be limited to just Medical and Dental professions.

There are estimated 6200 registered physiotherapists in South Africa. It is not established how many are in private practice, retired or in public service (  But a petition signature of close to 300 within the first 48 hours is a reflection that an audit and review of physiotherapy as a profession is South Africa needs to be done and appropriate remuneration be granted.