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NHS spending boost

Physiotherapists are set to have more opportunities to develop services for people with long-term conditions under the new NHS funding settlement.

The comprehensive spending review, announced by chancellor Alistair Darling last week, sets out the government's spending priorities for the next three years.

The NHS will receive an increase of four per cent per year above inflation, taking total funding from £90bn in 2007-2008 to £110bn in 2010-2011.

The CSR report emphasises improving health service access to meet the 18-week referral targets and to deliver better support for people with long-term conditions, as set out in Lord Ara Darzi's interim report Our NHS, Our Future, published earlier this month.

Extra resources will fund over 100 GP practices in the primary care trusts with poorest provision, and 150 walk-in health centres open seven days a week.

CSP Council chair Sarah Bazin said: 'The provision of physiotherapy in the proposed GP-run health centres is good news for patients, especially for those with musculoskeletal and long-term conditions, seeking greater control of their condition.

'With up to 2,000 unemployed graduate physiotherapists waiting to treat and care for patients, there should be no delay by PCTs in taking advantage of this resource.'

The Department of Health aims to save around £500m a year by changing care arrangements for people with long-term conditions. The CSR report suggests this could include improving community services to avoid emergency admissions.

CSP head of public affairs Gary Robjent said this could provide an ideal opportunity to push the case for direct access physio services such as self-referral.

He said: 'If the intention of the government is to enable people to receive more personalised services to manage long-term conditions, with the added benefit of saving £500m, one way to achieve this is through the use of self-referral, which is also in keeping with the ethos of the expert patient programme.'


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