Placing yourself in the hands of a person who doesn't have the necessary university qualification for practising physiotherapy puts you, the patient, at risk and could result in a prison sentence for the so-called professional.
The Andalusian College of Physiotherapists, whose president is Juan Manuel Nieblas, has now begun a campaign to alert people to this problem. The theme is 'Te lo crees?'(Do you believe it?), and the aim is to advise patients to be careful about who they go to for treatment.
The College says there has been a recent proliferation of courses in massage and other techniques to treat pain and injuries.
The campaign will be accompanied by allusive posters to warn about people who are not properly qualified. "Would you believe someone who said you could be an astronaut, a surgeon or a pilot just by taking a course for a few weeks and with no previous knowledge? No. Then why do you think someone can work as a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, without going to university?" asks Juan Manuel Nieblas, who stresses that it is not just unethical but also puts patients' health at risk.
Nieblas points out that those who are not properly qualified can be sentenced to between 12 and 24 months in prison if caught. To prevent these illicit practices, the Andalusian College of Physiotherapists is calling on the authorities to make the penalities more severe in order to defend and protect consumers who believe they are dealing with a genuinely qualified professional.
The campaign emphasises that courses in chiromassage and similar treatments have no academic or professional validity. "Nobody would want to be operated on by a surgeon who had only done a short training course, but there are still people who trust their health to unqualified physiotherapists," says Juan Manuel Nieblas.
If anyone has doubts about whether a physiotherapist is qualified, or wants to report one, the College's phone number is 954 98 88 50 and this is the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org