SELF-REFERRAL SCHEME TO REVOLUTIONISE ISLAND’S PHYSIOTHERAPY SERVICE - Health News Release
The Department of Health has launched a new self-referral scheme for physiotherapy, which means that many patients now won’t have to see their GP to be referred to the service. In addition, following submission of the self-referral form, the Physiotherapy Team will aim to see patients for their first consultation within three working days where possible.
The first phase of the scheme, which launches on Monday, 16th April 2012, is for patients aged 16 and over who have a musculoskeletal problem (muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves) that has developed within the past eight weeks. The scheme will extend to those with longer term conditions in July 2012. Those with non musculoskeletal conditions (respiratory, neurological disorders such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, and back pain with associated bladder or bowel problems) should continue to see their GP in the first instance.
The new self-referral scheme has been developed by the Physiotherapy Team to revolutionise treatment and improve patient care and satisfaction, with several additional key aims:
- To see patients quicker, as close as possible to the time of patient need
- To reduce demand for GP appointments where all that is required is a simple referral
- Reduce instances of physiotherapy ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA’s) as appointments are close to the time of self-referral and within three days of the patient having telephoned for their appointment slot (i.e. there is less likelihood of the patient forgetting their appointment). This reduces the number of wasted appointments, minimising waiting lists
- Improve patient outcomes through early intervention. Evidence suggests that quicker treatment also results in less treatment sessions being required, thus reducing overall demand.
Those who still wish to see their GP about musculoskeletal problems may continue to do so.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK said: “This is an excellent and innovative development for which the team is to be commended. One of the key benefits with the self-referral scheme is that by seeing patients quickly - within a matter of days - we reduce the need for pre-booking appointments with long lead in times, which inevitably leads to people forgetting their appointments and failing to attend. So we’re simply putting this wasted capacity to use, by looking at our systems and processes; in effect, doing more with what we already have, and increasing patient satisfaction in the process.
“The scheme fits in with the Department’s overarching strategy, by improving access to community services and reducing inappropriate referrals for secondary care – which means treatment at Noble’s Hospital. By treating patients quickly and in effect, ‘nipping things in the bud’, we prevent conditions from becoming chronic which could, for example, result in someone with a bad back requiring surgical treatment at Noble’s Hospital. So the impact of this change isn’t just on physiotherapy or GPs, but will ripple across the entire healthcare system, which is exactly the direction we want to move in.”
Improving access to services in the community is a key component of the Department’s Strategy for the Future of Health Services in the Isle of Man, and as such patients will be able to choose to be treated in Douglas, Port Erin or Ramsey and where possible will always see the same Physiotherapist. The self-referral scheme will also focus on another key area of the Department’s strategy, which is the provision of education and self-management strategies to help people to best treat their condition and prevent it from reoccurring.
Bev Critchlow, Director Nursing, Midwifery and Therapies at Noble’s Hospital said: “At the first assessment the Physiotherapist will explain everything to the patient so that both parties are clear on what the problem is, what has caused it, and what can be done to recover and prevent a recurrence. The patient will have the opportunity to discuss their exercise programme with the Physiotherapist and will help set their own achievable goals. It’s often said that physiotherapy is something you do, not have done to you which means that to get the best out of a physiotherapy programme the patient must be actively engaged.
“If the patient feels they need a follow up appointment they can phone the number given to them at their first attendance and follow the same procedure as when making their first appointment. I think patients will be pleased with the changes and I’d like to congratulate my team and the other key stakeholders involved for their hard work in getting us to this point.”
The scheme will be piloted for three months, with a review taking place at the end of this period along with the phasing-in of self-referral for those with chronic conditions which have lasted for over eight weeks.
More information is available in the self referral leaflet, with copies available from each of the Island’s GP surgeries as well as at Noble’s Hospital and the Island’s three Physiotherapy Centres – the Community Health Centre on Westmoreland Road, Thie Rosien in Port Erin, and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital. Information and a copy of the form (which can be submitted electronically online) is also available at www.gov.im/health/physiotherapy, or patients can call the Physiotherapy Department of 642158 for more information.
13th April 2012
|Department of Health|
Corporate Services Team
|Post Code:||IM1 3QA|