This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of physiotherapists about the role they play in health promotion in an acute inpatient setting. Three focus groups were conducted with a total of 22 physiotherapists who were recruited purposively from the medical and surgical unit of the study hospital. Participants ordinarily perceived health promotion to be within their scope of practice, particularly in relation to the promotion of physical activity and smoking cessation. Whilst some facilitators to engaging in health promotion were discussed, a large number of barriers to routine engagement in health promotion were identified. These included time constraints, the focus of acute settings on discharge, and scepticism of effectiveness.
Pre- and postregistration physiotherapy education as well as mandatory training in NHS trusts should be reviewed to give the workforce the tools it needs to engage in this crucial area of health care.