Department of Health plans for the NHS put separate government proposals to enable benefit claimants to return to work at “severe risk”, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

In its submission to the consultation on the Liberating the NHS white paper, the society warned the reforms threatened to make access to physiotherapy dependent on where you live.

Chancellor George Osborne today outlined plans to get people off benefits and back into work, but the physiotherapists trade union said this was undermined by the health white paper.

It said physiotherapy enabled people on sick leave to overcome conditions such as back pain and repetitive strain injury and return to work, but plans for the NHS, including GP commissioning, created a “significant risk of patient services becoming fragmented and destabilised”.

The society said the reforms risked “reducing the quality of care and making long-term planning increasingly difficult and the future of the NHS more uncertain”.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapists chief executive Phil Gray said: “Physiotherapists are playing their part each day by either preventing or diagnosing and treating significant health conditions that leave people unable to work.

“A situation could be created whereby these essential services are available to some but not to others, so the government must re-think its plans.”