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6,000 more physios needed in primary care

Saturday 30th March 2019
Physios would offer sessions at twice the length of those given by GPs and would absorb some of the workload.
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A total of 6,000 more full-time equivalent physiotherapists will be required by the NHS in England in ten years’ time, according to health experts.

The King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation have issued a joint report that states that alongside the new physios, additional administrative and clinical support staff will also be required.

In order for these new staff to fulfil their potential, the NHS must ensure that estate investment, careful pathway and service redesign and flexible employment models reflect the move.

The report suggests that 6,000 physios will be able to take care of ten per cent of future demand for GPs, as more specialist roles carry more of the burden.

Sessions with physios would be twice as long as those taken with GPs, allowing for more work to be done to alleviate problems.

The musculoskeletal (MSK) workload represents 20 per cent of demand on GPs and it’s assumed that 6,000 new physios would be able to cut this by half.

Karen Middleton, chief executive for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), said: “We already know that there’s a huge amount of public support for these first contact physiotherapy services.

“Our research shows that 73 per cent of patients would choose to see a physiotherapist instead of their GP for an MSK issue. The pilots already running across the country show it is paying off, with exceptionally high patient-satisfaction levels.

“It's therefore great news that we have the funding in place for more of these roles, but in order to achieve true transformation we also need a national programme developed that will support this.”

Written by Matthew Horton

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