Madam, - Denis Gleeson (December 17th) suggests that physiotherapists "should not use State regulation to acquire the title "physical therapy".

He neglects to mention that, internationally, the terms "physiotherapy" and "physical therapy" are interchangeable.

The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists is a member of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. The WCPT has 250,000 members of whom 100,000 are called physical therapists. Internationally the professional names of physiotherapy and physical therapy are the sole preserve of persons who hold qualifications approved by national professional bodies which are members of WCPT.

Physiotherapists undertake a four-year university degree course along with extensive clinical and hospital experience, while members of the Irish Association of Physical Therapists are not accredited by any academic institution.

Mr Gleeson avers that members of the Irish Association of Physical Therapists have no desire to be associated with chartered physiotherapists but by choosing to call themselves physical therapists they have sown the seeds of confusion among the public. We too believe that the public should have freedom of choice but this requires that a clear distinction be drawn between therapists with full academic qualifications and those who have attended part-time courses. In the US and Australia, only those with full qualifications are allowed to use the terms "physiotherapist" and "physical therapist" and, in the interests of clarity, the same rules should obtain in Ireland. - Yours, etc.,

LOUISE WILSON, MISCP, (On behalf of Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists), Sandymount Physiotherapy Clinic, Dublin 4.