Hundreds of physiotherapy students and graduates have converged on Holyrood to lobby MSPs over their "limited chances" of finding employment.
A Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) poll found that four months after graduating, 81% of physiotherapists were still looking for their first job. The CSP claimed that 28,000 patients were currently on a waiting list to see a physiotherapist. The Scottish Executive said a number of recruitment initiatives were under way. The 200 young physiotherapists who demonstrated outside Holyrood came from colleges in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Kenryck Lloyd-Jones, CSP policy officer for Scotland, said: "With 28,000 patients on physiotherapy waiting lists there is a risk of patients' conditions becoming chronic unless there is early physiotherapy intervention."
He said Scotland's ageing population meant an expansion of the profession would be essential.
"Any cut in the number of physiotherapists would be very short-sighted," he said.
"If we do not employ and train our junior therapists, we will not have the senior or specialist physiotherapists we will certainly need in the future. We have the opportunity to act to prevent a crisis, and it must be taken."
He also said it was vital graduates found employment to maintain their skills.
"Statistics show that the vast majority of those that are not employed within one year of graduation will be lost to the profession permanently, because without practice they quickly lose their skills," he said.