Advice Line: getting physios into GP surgeries

Ruth ten Hove on a CSP bid to get more physios into GP surgeries.

In the last year we’ve seen a shift in thinking among policymakers, now seeing physiotherapy as central to plans for the future of primary care – with potential benefits for the public and the profession.
There was a window of opportunity with the recent launch of long-term plans to improve primary care combined with short-term problems of capacity in general practice – and physios having the right skills and expertise to provide a solution.
CSP members with direct expertise to bring to the issue have played an important leadership role in achieving this. We have gained real benefit and insight from working in partnership with the BMA and the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), resulting in joint guidance for GPs and physios on implementing GP physio roles. Indeed, Krishna Kasaraneni, who chairs the BMA workforce committee said the initiative had the potential to ‘reduce workload pressures for GPs and their practice staff’. See 
But there is a long way to go. There are general practice physiotherapists in more than 40 per cent of patches covered by clinical commissioning groups and health boards.
However, these are mainly small pilots – the challenge now is to scale these up and make them mainstream. 
We need to continue to show that physiotherapy provides solutions to the challenges in primary care to improve support for frail older people, to provide prevention and rehab services for people with a range of long-term conditions, for example. And partnerships with GPs will continue to be key – nationally and locally.
If you are involved in implementing GP physio roles or seeking to do so, you need to be making links with your GPs – the BMA and the RCGP have regional councils. GPs get together for shared training and are increasingly organising themselves into federations or clusters. 
If you want advice or can share a case study, email the CSP professional advice service at
  • Ruth ten Hove is the CSP’s head of research and development
Ruth ten Hove is the CSP’s head of research and development

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