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Physio at helm as trust changes tack and invests in primary care services

27 September 2013 - 12:15pm

A physiotherapist is at the helm of an innovative service redesign that has gained funding worth nearly £800,000 for primary care services – thanks to commissioners reducing their spending on secondary care.

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Stephanie Griffiths (front row centre) and the MSK team from Ealing. Photo: North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

The project is managed by Stephanie Griffiths, a consultant physiotherapist and musculoskeletal (MSK) lead at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust.

The initiative has secured an investment of £350,000 for the trust’s primary care physiotherapy service, and more than £420,000 for its specialist MSK service.

The CSP has welcomed news of the funding and described it as ‘a fantastic achievement’.

Natalie Beswetherick, CSP director of practice and development, praised Ms Griffiths’ commitment to the project and said: ‘This is a significant investment and a real opportunity for physiotherapy services working in primary care.’

Ms Griffiths worked closely with local GPs and the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) for more than a year, in order to make the redesign feasible.

She says investment in the project was made possible after commissioners agreed to reduce their spending on secondary care orthopaedics and divert patients into primary care.

‘It‘s been a real partnership of working between the CCG, the provider services and the GPs.

‘The GPs have agreed to limit their access to expensive investigations such as MRIs and ultrasounds, and the savings are being reinvested to fund extra posts and to provide a better MSK and physiotherapy service for local patients.’

The primary care services currently operate from various community sites in the west London borough of Ealing, including Ealing Hospital, and the funding will mainly be used to increase staffing levels.

The specialist MSK service will benefit from the addition of four extra extended scope practitioner physios, and a weekly orthopaedic consultant session in the community. The physiotherapy service is set to expand further with the addition of five extra posts.

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