Physiotherapists are playing a key role in transforming services at a Department of Health national pilot site for re-designing therapies to meet the 18-week waiting target.
The pilot, at University College London Hospitals foundation trust, has been running for six months. Practitioners say there have been early successes in the musculoskeletal service, as part of the project, which will act as a blueprint for improving services across the trust. Under the pilot, triage clinics have been implemented to enable more appropriate referral, increase patient flow and improve patient satisfaction. Other initiatives include developing screening tools used by physios and occupational therapists. Therapy services manager Mandy Topman said musculoskeletal outpatient physiotherapy waits had been cut from 25 to five weeks. She told Frontline: 'A lot of our efficiencies have been as a result of organisational change, change in ways of working and mindset. We've also got one or two 18-week funded posts which will be funded up to the end of the year.' Ms Topman said: 'I know there are other models nationally of similar services coming together. UCLH is one of many physio services that are looking at modernising, and obviously 18-weeks has been a big driver.' She added: 'From a musculoskeletal point of view, it's physio, orthotics and podiatry all working closely together, looking at what we are doing and what we are duplicating.' Physiotherapy manager Liz Mowbray, who is in charge of inpatient services, said: 'We're really trying to create more capacity around freeing up beds and feeding through discharges. We're trying to raise the profile of how important the rest of the multidisciplinary team is apart from the nurses and doctors.'
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