Salford checks it out

MSK physios are promoting the health of local patients by conducting health checks, says Gillian Rawlinson.

Health promotion is a key part of a physiotherapist’s role and many wider determinants of health and lifestyle factors will cause or affect the outcomes for those attending musculoskeletal physiotherapy services. Salford is one of the most deprived cities in the UK, which, in turn, leads to poor health and significant health inequalities.
‘Health checks’ were re-launched by Public Health England (PHE) in 2013 with the aim of providing health screening appointments to about 15 million people to prevent premature mortality
Patients in England aged from 40 to 74, who are not already on a chronic disease register, are invited for a health check, usually at their GP surgery which requires patients to be proactive in attending and often uptake is poor.
In April we secured funding from the Innovation fund at Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for a year-long project to embed and evaluate a health promotion strategy across our MSK physiotherapy services to ensure a systematic and consistent approach to making every contact count and understanding and supporting health behaviour change.
As part of this project, we have worked with public health teams at Salford City Council and with Salford CCG to implement health checks within physiotherapy appointments. We are not aware of any other physiotherapy services implementing health checks nationally. Offering health checks puts health promotion at the centre of their physiotherapy care, optimising the health of those who may not normally attend for a specific health check and promoting the role of physiotherapists as public health practitioners. 
Patients at Salford Royal NHS Trust will be invited for a 10-minute health check with a physiotherapy assistant before their appointment with the physiotherapist. Physiotherapists will then be armed with all the patients’ relevant health data, informing optimal treatment plans and creating a ‘way in’ to healthy conversations. PHE Health checks attract a tariff of £25 per person, which will hopefully provide sustainable funding to continue the service. The project is due to be launched in September 2016 and will be piloted for a year.
The project also aligns with the National Diabetes Programme (NDPP) Liaison with Salford’s NDPP will see the addition of the diabetes risk score added to all physiotherapy health check appointments and immediate point of care HbA1C blood testing where indicated, with the aim of identifying the estimated 19,000 patients living in Salford who are pre-diabetic with impaired glucose regulation. Physical activity is a core treatment intervention for individuals with IGR and physios are ideally placed to be central to this agenda. 
  • Gillian Rawlinson is an advanced MSK physiotherapy practitioner at Salford Royal NHS Trust and a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire 
Gillian Rawlinson advanced MSK physiotherapy practitioner at Salford Royal NHS Trust and senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire

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