Direct access to physiotherapy rated ‘excellent’ by 99% of patients
A new service giving people direct access to physiotherapy in West Cheshire has been hailed a success by local residents.
For the first time, people in West Cheshire are able to book an appointment directly with ‘Physiotherapy First’ - a joint initiative between two local NHS providers, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust.
Rather than wait for a referral from a GP, the new service introduces physiotherapists as the first contact into GP Practices to improve access to assessment and advice for people with musculoskeletal symptoms affecting their joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. The initiative will allow people to be seen quicker by a physiotherapist and receive a treatment plan. It also allows GP appointments to be freed up.
The chances of having musculoskeletal issues generally rises with age and in recent years, as the number of elderly people in the community has increased, the number of people with musculoskeletal conditions has also risen. Between 2008 and 2030, the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is expected to rise by 32% for people over 50. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), most work-related musculoskeletal disorders develop over time and can also result from fractures caused by accidents.
Cathryn Woodall, advanced physiotherapy practitioner and service lead, has been involved in the project since the outset and says, “Since its launch in January 2015, 3030 GP appointments have been freed up for other medical problems. 97% of people who accessed the service have had their musculoskeletal issues dealt with appropriately by the physiotherapist, and 99% of patients rated the service as ‘excellent’.
“As the service is rolled out to rural and Chester GP practices we expect these numbers to increase.
“We are delighted to be able to report that over 99% of referrals were musculoskeletal problems, which could be thoroughly assessed and treated by the physiotherapist, meaning more people are accessing the right care, at the right time.”
Karin Daelemans, lead therapist for the musculoskeletal service, says: “Many of us will get musculoskeletal aches and pains at some point in our life and It is crucial that we learn to recognise symptoms and effective ways of managing them to prevent any conditions becoming chronic and impairing our general health and well-being.
“The expertise of physiotherapists means there is now a wealth of support on offer for our local communities, from diagnosis, self-management advice and exercises to onward referrals and investigations such as x rays and blood tests.”