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Self-referral scheme on the cards in Northern Ireland

8 August 2013 - 2:21pm

Northern Ireland’s first musculoskeletal (MSK) self-referral scheme should be running by the end of the year.

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Self-referral and early condition management can bring down waiting times

That’s the hope of the CSP’s Northern Ireland Board. The development is part of the board’s ‘Physiotherapy: Future Fit’ campaign to ensure the profession is in the best position to influence the ‘Transforming your care’ policy agenda. This will transfer many acute services to the community.

‘There will be many opportunities for physiotherapists within the new service arrangements and models,’ said Teresa Ross, chair of the board. ‘The CSP is pushing for the implementation of self-referral and planning to establish good contacts within the new local commissioning groups.

‘We hope the new model will help to address waits for MSK physiotherapy services which are currently over the nine-week target in two trusts with others not far behind. This is due to resource pressures from recruitment freezes,’ said Ms Ross.

‘Self-referral is part of us breaking the vicious cycle. If we can get people in early and self-managing their conditions then ultimately it will bring down waiting times, even with the resource pressures,’ she said.

‘We are hoping that, after the early implementer site project, self-referral will be rolled out nationally. We already have the staff support, people are ready to move on it,’ Ms Ross noted.

The Future Fit campaign aims to empower physiotherapists with the skills to influence and lead the direction of the profession within the health service transformation.

‘We need to re-package ourselves to let policymakers and commissioners know what we can do,’ Ms Ross added.  

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