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The Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists was invited to this year’s Swim Summit hosted by the Swim Group, which includes the national governing body for swimming, Swim England.
I took part, as editor of Aqualines, along with Sarah Cox, ATACP vice chair, in a panel discussion with Michelle Roberts, of the Richmond Group of charities, and Elaine McNish, head of health and wellbeing, Swim England.
Discussions focused on the benefits of swimming and aquatic activity, the role of aquatic therapy and the health sector, and the need for collaboration across all sectors. They emphasised the unified message of the benefits to health and wellbeing of aquatic activity when it comes to tailoring the aquatic offer for the nation.
The particular health, social and economic benefits of exercise in water for people with long-term conditions and the popularity and accessibility of swimming across the lifespan were the cornerstones of the message to local authorities and funders as investors in the future of leisure and swimming facilities.
- Cecilia de Villiers, editor, Aqualines
It’s a first
Great news (Frontline, 1 November) that first contact physio is to be rolled out by NHS England from next year.
I just wanted to flag up that the service I am team lead for in Halton (Runcorn and Widnes, north west England) has been running first point of contact for eight months but we have taken it even further.
We have been commissioned by Halton clinical commissioning group (CCG) to offer a first point of contact model – but not just to offer physiotherapy.
Our first point of contact model has band 8a physiotherapists who have worked in an interface service, now moving to primary care to triage all MSK patients. If investigations are necessary, our clinicians can order them and manage the patients accordingly. We can also refer to therapies, pain, rheumatology and secondary care.
While we were going through the transformation process, I couldn’t find other services that had taken on triage at first point of contact.
We offer telephone triage initially, so it was good to see the article on telephone triage savings in the same issue of Frontline.
I now have eight months’ worth of data on our service and it is showing high cost savings for the CCG, along with exceptional friends and family test results. I am now looking to enter the service for awards.
Improvements and developments still need to be made and this will be an ongoing process anyway, but the service is beginning to show results.
- Lisa Horne, team lead and advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapy practitioner
Rachel Newton,head of policy at the CSP, replies: Thanks very much to Lisa for getting in touch. The CSP has only been able to make the headway it has this year with evidence and insight from members. If you are also developing first contact physiotherapy services in primary care it would be great to hear from you on: firstname.lastname@example.org;
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