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Physio-led pilots rewarded

A number of pioneering physiotherapy-led pilot schemes have won extra funding from the Department of Health, after proving their value to the health service.

The pilots were highlighted by the DH last month as part of its effort to explain where funding for the NHS, including an extra £8 billion this year, is being spent.

One of the projects is a cardiac rehabilitation service at Eastern and Coastal Kent primary care trust, which offers a home or gym-based service for co-pathology patients who cannot attend a structured programme in clinics.

Cardiac rehab clinical specialist Ian Taylor said home visits had been limited until now, as it has only been himself and a physio assistant providing the service.

However, an extra £280,000 will now pay for an additional three clinical specialists and three assistants, enabling the service to cover the whole east Kent region later this year. It will take on more heart failure patients and offer a more holistic service. 'The funding will allow us to expand our menu,' said Mr Taylor.

A community-based musculoskeletal assessment and treatment service at Bristol PCT is also having its funding more than doubled to create more clinics.

MATS extended scope practitioner lead Bill Orr said the service had seen over 2,000 orthopaedic patients since it launched in November 2006, and half of these were now being managed in primary care rather than in acute services. Nearly all patients are now seen within four weeks.

Croydon PCT is also expanding its virtual community wards for patients with complex long-term conditions from two to 10. They were launched last year.

So far the community rehab physio team has had limited involvement in the telephone conferencing ward rounds. However, this may change, according to adult therapy lead Jacqui Goatley.

'The development of the virtual wards highlights how we can provide new approaches in patient care, and it is likely we will have to introduce more preventive approaches,' she said.


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