Web access is a physio hit

A pilot in Suffolk giving access to physiotherapy services via a web page has proved such a success it is being rolled out throughout the county.

Access to a physio appointment was previously via telephone after patients had seen their doctor first. Suffolk community healthcare team lead physio Joannah Keller said: ‘This was a very popular service with both patients and GPs but more recently has become over-run and very difficult to manage, leading to long lists of patients waiting for us to call back.’ The new website provides a ‘self referral’ route where patients fill in a comprehensive questionnaire including a self-shading body chart. The information goes to the physios in encrypted form to be triaged and automated email replies are sent to the patients. For those put on the waiting list advice and exercise sheets are attached to the email. Joannah Keller said the process is now saving 75 per cent of physiotherapists’ time. The service has already been rolled out to 17 GP surgeries and an admin worker has been employed to input information for those who don’t have computer access.  CSP professional adviser Ruth ten Hove said: ‘It is an excellent development. The service has comprehensively changed its model of access to suit the needs of its local population.’ NHS Innovations is working to take the service to other interested trusts. www.suffolkphysio.nhs.uk

Gary Henson

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