Welsh neuro review calls for more self-referral

A review of neurological physiotherapy by a Welsh Assembly committee has recommended greater use of self-referral to physiotherapy, and the appointment of more specialist neurological physiotherapists across Wales.

The Cross Party Group for Neurological Conditions report, published on 1 February, makes 12 recommendations to improve neurological physiotherapy in Wales, including a call for every local health board to have a physiotherapist specialising in each of the most common neurological conditions.

The report also recommended that general physiotherapists should receive extra training in neurology, and that the Welsh Government should establish a working group to take forward the report’s recommendations.

According to the Welsh Government there are 1,196 physiotherapists and support workers employed across Wales, but only 150 working primarily with neurological conditions.

The CSP was among the bodies to give evidence to the committee, and CSP policy officer for Wales Philippa Ford welcomed the first review of a specialist area of physiotherapy by a Welsh Assembly committee.

‘Expanding self-referral will be a welcome development,’ she said.

‘It is already available in some areas, but not everywhere in Wales.

Staffing capacity may well be an issue to be addressed in order to deliver this for people with neurological conditions.’

One further recommendation made by the committee was that health boards should evaluate and standardise specialist equipment used by patients with complex neurological needs so that an equal level of treatment would be available across Wales.

Ms Ford said this was an area that could be easily tackled and could bring big improvements for patients.

Graham Clews

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