Paul Donnelly, Organisation of Chartered Physiotherapists in Private Practice (OCPPP)

Donnelly, who is also managing director of PhysioFirst, said that the demand for physiotherapists outstripped supply.

"Like dentists, demand outstrips supply. That is a key element to understanding how our members respond to overtures to them," he said.

"Over a period of time, we have had overtures from many organisations to partner them in various ways, some of which have been a bit of quid pro quo, in true claims farming tradition."

He said: "One other aspect is the idea that an introduction of work to our members should benefit the referrer or introducer by reduced fees being paid.

"I do try to explain to a great many organisations that contact us that, unlike the solicitor world, which I inhabited for a long time, we will not crawl across broken glass and ostensibly slit our grandmothers' throats from time to time to get on a referral panel.

"In the physiotherapy world, you can still put up a brass plaque and trade on your reputation, as the referrers who refer work to you largely do so based on their perception of your competence."

Donnelly said he often feels like "a voice crying in the wilderness, as the view was that nobody had proved rehabilitation to be particularly effective".

He spoke of the pragmatic way physios can help whiplash cases/soft tissue cases.

"I remember the first time I went to see a physio with what I thought was a traumatic neck pain, having tried to lift an armchair up the stairs by myself.

"I went along expecting them to tell me that it was the worst neck they had seen in years.

"I sat on the plinth. The tall Australian physio held my head in his hands and told me to sit up and do some innocuous exercise; if I continued to do this, it would go away. Sure enough, it did."

Self-help is a really big part of the work with claimants, he added.

"Most injury claims and work absences are soft tissue. Even with self-help, rehabilitation is mainly physiotherapy," Donnelly said.