Loughborough University: CEP-UK announce Clinical Exercise Physiologists are now eligible for professional registration

There has never been a more pressing need for Clinical Exercise Physiologists (CEP) to support the health of the nation.

As experts, they play a key role in prescribing exercise, physical activity and lifestyle change to enhance health, prevent chronic diseases and assist in prehabilitation and rehabilitation of clinical populations.

The registration of Clinical Exercise Physiologists is a crucial step in ensuring high-quality support for healthcare in the U.K. and in growing the options for supporting greater uptake of exercise in the community. Professional registration of this role is already established in other countries (e.g. Australia) and has recognised health and economic benefit.

Involving Dr Keith Tolfrey from Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Clinical Exercise Physiology – UK (CEP-UK) is excited to announce that Clinical Exercise Physiologists are now eligible for professional registration with the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS).

The RCCP hold a voluntary register regulated by the professional standards authority and enforce high standards of practice and maintain a public database. Suitably qualified individuals can now apply, via an equivalence process, to become registered and will be conferred the title of Clinical Exercise Physiologist on successful acceptance on the register.

Professional registration ensures Clinical Exercise Physiologists are appropriately trained, meet standards of proficiency, have indemnity insurance, are committed to continued professional development and are deemed ‘fit to practice’.

Dr Keith Tolfrey FBASES, former Chair (2015-2018) of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), and member of the CEP-UK steering committee comments:

“The register for clinical exercise physiologists recognises the high-level expertise and application of advanced skills required to work as health care professionals in the government-funded and private sectors in the UK. Recipients of exercise-based health care will be secure in the knowledge they are receiving expert support from regulated professionals using the most contemporary clinical methods.”

The process to accredit Higher Education MSc degree programmes will be announced in Spring 2022 with a view to opening a graduate Clinical Exercise Physiologist registration route in September 2022.

Professional registration represents a step-change in the provision of exercise prescription in clinical populations. Those registered will be qualified health professionals proficient in exercise testing, prescription and delivery of evidence-based interventions for the prevention, treatment and long-term management of acute, sub-acute, chronic and complex conditions. They work as part of multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare and rehabilitation providers across sectors and settings. Clinical Exercise Physiologist services will aim to optimise physical function and health whilst promoting long-term health through lifestyle modification and behaviour change.

CEP-UK includes national and international members across the Clinical Exercise Physiology landscape from academic institutions to professional bodies, to public and private healthcare providers. CEP-UK is a project that is part of a Research England International Investment Initiative grant awarded to Liverpool John Moores University and University of Western Australia.

The Chair of the CEP-UK steering group, Professor Helen Jones from Liverpool John Moores University, comments: “The central importance of exercise in disease prevention and the treatment of disease has been magnified significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, there has never been a more important time to define and provide regulation for Clinical Exercise Physiology health professionals.”

Professor Daniel Green of University of Western Australia who is a consultant to CEP-UK commented “We have had the equivalent of CEP in Australia for 20 years as a recognised and regulated allied health profession working directly in our healthcare systems. Objective evaluation by Deloitte calculated benefit:cost ratios of between six and nine to one for exercise physiology management across a range of chronic diseases, clearly demonstrating the efficacy and high-cost effectiveness of interventions delivered by Clinical Exercise Physiologists.”

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