Physios gain £500,000 to expand services in Cornwall

Physiotherapists in Cornwall have secured funding of more than £500,000 to expand therapy services at their trust.

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The orthopaedic team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital are setting up an early supported discharge service

Physio and occupational therapy (OT) staff at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust made a bid for the investment after completing three successful pilot schemes and presented the results to the trust board.

Therapy services at the trust will be enhanced by

  • including a dedicated musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapist in the trust’s emergency department team 
  • investing £105,000 in the elective orthopaedic pathway, to provide extended day working and enhance the weekend service for physiotherapy and OT
  • an extra £120,000 to support enhanced physiotherapy and OT seven-day services, specifically focused on early discharge
  • £256,000 funding to set up an early support discharge service that focuses on the elective and trauma orthopaedic pathway, and provides care for frail orthopaedic patients at hospital or home

A huge achievement

Clare Rotman, a respiratory physiotherapist and inpatient therapy manager at the trust, told Frontline: ‘This is a huge achievement for our team in what is a very challenging financial climate.

‘We are now in the process of recruiting staff for the early supported discharge service, included two band 6 physios.

‘The enhanced service will help to keep the flow of the hospital going so we can discharge patients in a timely fashion and enable the next operations to be done without any problem of waiting for beds.'

Andy Ballard, the CSP’s senior negotiating officer for the South West, said: ‘This is very welcome news that recognises the value of physiotherapy in supporting patient recovery and is good news for both patients and our members.’

The new early supported discharge service physios, plus the emergency department’s MSK physio, will be based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, while new therapy staff recruited to the elective orthopaedic pathway will work at St Michael's Hospital, Hayle.

Impressive pilot results

One of the pilots that led to the investment demonstrated the benefits of early mobilisation for hip and knee replacement patients. The results showed that standing patients upright on the same day as their surgery had reduced their average length of stay in hospital by 0.75 days.

Meanwhile a pilot of the early supported discharge service saw 112 patients safely home again. The patients showed functional improvement or maintained functional ability across all outcome measures, said Mrs Rotman.

She added that the pilot had saved the trust an estimated 336 bed days.

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by Robert Millett

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