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Case Study – Therapyworks Healthcare Services

Equipping staff with the business skills to lead innovative healthcare services

Skills for Health helps Therapyworks pioneer a new franchise model for physiotherapy practice in independent healthcare. Therapyworks is a physiotherapy service based in the Vale of Glamorgan offering sports injury management; electrotherapy; acupuncture and most forms of manual therapy. Hywel Griffiths, who founded the organisation in 1988, spotted a business opportunity to expand the business.

With the help of our workforce development experts and a franchise lawyer, he developed a franchising model to expand his business and bring physiotherapists into private practice. The challenge was to develop a clear systematic way for physiotherapists to develop the required business skills and to make the transition from the NHS into private practice.


  • Patients are seen more quickly, and at a time that suits them
  • The business franchisee has seen 178% growth in clients in two years
  • Competences embedded in the review process for staff and franchisee owners
  • Competences used to inform operations manual which has been rated highly by representatives of elite sporting organisations
  • New syllabus for graduates and advanced practitioners will enable flexible work-based learning and support continuing professional development
  • established a framework to allow the business to make the most of new opportunities
  • as commissioning procedures evolve and NHS contracts are opened to private service providers
  • the use of competences and the backing of Skills for Health gave Therapyworks more credibility and led to HSBC providing financial backing and naming Therapyworks ‘The franchise to watch in 2008!’

“Skills for Health has been instrumental in helping me build a solid foundation for a network of Therapyworks franchises across the UK. Skills for Health competences helped to provide the underpinning business and management skills to complement individuals’ clinical skills. The value of such advice and assistance has been substantial – the costs would have run into tens of thousands of pounds if I had bought off the shelf products instead.”

Hywel Griffiths, Founder, Therapyworks

How we helped

Registered with all major private health insurance companies, Therapyworks operates within a sector that is heavily bound by professional regulations. The practice is staffed by time-pressed professionals who may not necessarily have all the business skills required for private practice.

Working with Skills for Health, Therapyworks started from scratch, considering all aspects of how to run a small to medium-sized physiotherapy practice. This was then compared with best practice in the NHS in terms of clinical skills and competencies and business development in the private sector.

How we did it

They broke down day to day tasks into competences covering clinical and business development activities such as meeting and greeting clients on reception, arranging appointments for treatment, processing payments, sales, marketing, and finance.

Skills for Health competencies were used to develop an operations manual incorporating clinical skills and business best practices. Since being introduced, staff confidence has increased and Therapyworks practices have been shaped around the patient’s needs and business requirements.

Developing new leaders

Therapyworks developed a graduate associate programme enabling newly qualified physiotherapists to build up valuable business management skills and to benefit from one-to-one mentoring. As a result, the business is more professional, with a proven model that shows new franchisees what to put in place in order to replicate success. They have also developed an operations review process to ensure Therapyworks meets required commissioning standards.

“Prior to contacting Skills for Health, I had felt very much alone. They have been absolutely fantastic in sharing their knowledge of competencies and best practice and were extremely supportive throughout the entire process.”

Hywel Griffiths Founder, Therapyworks

As the Sector Skills Council for all health sector employers we support the NHS, independent, and the third sector organisations. Since 2002 we’ve been working with employers to get the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time. We are the authoritative voice on skills issues for the health sector and offer proven workforce solutions and tools – with the expertise and experience to use them effectively.