If you need to make a business case for physio in primary care, help is at hand says Andy Lord.
Primary care is the first point of contact in the health care system. Considering that definition, physiotherapists in private practice have been working in primary care for decades. So why should we be making a business case for something we already do? Well, the opportunity lies in improving the pathway for patients accessing NHS care.
From this month half of all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England will be taking on the responsibility for commissioning primary care, which previously was in the hands of NHS England. Find out if your area is affected. So, CCGs could be one audience for a business case.
GPs could also be interested in a physiotherapy business case, seeing as a physiotherapy service could save their business time and money. There are also a range of funders out there who support healthcare innovation who’d be interested in such a business case – Google ‘healthcare innovation funding’ to find them.
The first step in developing a business case is setting the context and explaining the problem you’re intending to solve.
Here’s some things to consider to get you started:
- there is a UK-wide shortage of GPs
- about 30 per cent of GP appointments can be for patients with musculoskeletal conditions
- physiotherapists could manage patients presenting to GPs with other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, falls and obesity
- patients often have long pathways with multiple appointments, and physiotherapy can shorten these
Next, do a cost-benefit analysis. This is where a physiotherapy service in primary care can look like a complete no brainer. Depending on how the service is set up, physiotherapy is often less costly than normal GP care and affords greater benefits.
The CSP recently launched its Physiotherapy Cost Calculator, to assist the cost analysis part of business case. It allows you to quickly understand how much a potential physiotherapy service would cost compared to a GP service. It also highlights other benefits such as decreased referrals to secondary care, increased patient satisfaction, decreased prescription costs, and less need for diagnostic imaging.
Finally, present your offer. Be clear what you’re asking for. Detail is paramount, showing what time, money and human resource is needed to achieve these benefits.
Interested in business or fancy yourself as an entrepreneur? Keep your eyes open for the CSP Physiotherapy Works Business Skills Development events later this year.
- Andy Lord is a CSP professional adviser.
See more information here Physiotherapy Cost Calculator.
AuthorAndy Lord, CSP professional adviser
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