NHS commissioners in Mid Essex could put on hold proposals to stop or severely restrict access to physiotherapy while they look at alternative cost-saving measures.
CSP members successfully campaigned against cuts in Mid Essex
A recommendation has gone to the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) board to postpone cuts to the MSK outpatient service in that area to allow further discussions between the commissioner and the local physios to take place.
The board will vote on the recommendation at its meeting on 28 January.
Rachel Newton, head of policy at the CSP, commented: ‘This is a real turnaround. It shows what can be achieved by CSP members organising, getting their voices heard and making the case locally about the potentially devastating impact on the community.’
Mid Essex CCG spends approximately £1 million a year on referrals to physiotherapy by GPs.
Under severe financial pressure, it had been considering three options to save some of this money. First, stopping all referrals for physio; second, providing only telephone advice; and, third, offering just one assessment and one follow up.
Its decision to look at alternatives follows extensive lobbying by the CSP.
The local Conservative MP weighed in to support the continuation of physiotherapy services in the area. James Cleverly told a local newspaper: ‘Virtually all the correspondence I have received so far has expressed deep concern in the proposed change to physiotherapy services.’
Steve Tolan, head of practice at the CSP, welcomed the announcement, saying: ‘This is a sensible decision by the CCG. I really appreciate them taking into account the views of the broad coalition that was formed against the initial proposals.
'We hope talks between the CCG and the physios providing the service can now proceed constructively and reach a solution that delivers much-needed quality care for patients in Mid-Essex in a cost-effective way.'
Dr Donald McGeachy, medical director of Mid Essex CCG, said: 'We are grateful for the support we have received from the CSP in facilitating productive discussions with our local provider. Depending on the decision taken at our board on 28 January, we are hopeful that continuing to work with our local clinicians will develop a proposal that delivers the financial savings our system needs.
'At the same time, we need to ensure that our patients continue to receive high quality physiotherapy services. This is something that our public and GPs value greatly, as we heard from our consultation.'
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