Panos Sarigiovannis on research to understand practice in delegating clinical tasks
Both my clinical experience and the research I have undertaken have made me realise that the role of physiotherapy assistants is relatively undefined and there is great variation in the duties and tasks they undertake.
Across our trust in some physiotherapy services physiotherapy assistants take responsibility, under professional supervision, for clinical work that traditionally physiotherapists would undertake.
In other services their role is mainly administrative. This may result in differences in the treatment provided to patients with similar clinical needs as well as job dissatisfaction.
Our trust is not an outlier as this happens in many physiotherapy services across the UK.
My observations throughout my career – which has included clinical, operational and professional leadership roles – have made me develop an interest to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of delegation in the musculoskeletal outpatients setting.
The first step of this process is to gain a better understanding of current practice in relation to delegating clinical tasks to physiotherapy assistants.
Understanding current practice will contribute to the review of our workforce planning processes to ensure that we have the right staff, with the right skills, at the right place at the right time.
To do this I am conducting a survey of practicing UK MSK outpatient physios. The survey takes 15 minutes and is being conducted as part of my HEE/NIHR pre-doctoral clinical academic fellowship.
I’m supported by an experienced team of researchers at Keele University.
- Panos Sarigiovannis is a MSK physiotherapist at Midlands Partnership NHS Trust
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