Physio-led services win prestigious NHS innovation awards

Physiotherapy plays an integral part in two teams that received NHS Innovation Challenge prizes, which are funded by NHS England.


Highly praised: the outpatient fibromyalgia self-management programme at Bath’s Royal United Hospital

The Bath outpatient fibromyalgia self-management programme was highly commended in the rehabilitation category of the 2015-16 awards, held in London on 28 January.

The service provides outpatients with group-based exercise and education and is delivered by allied health professionals (AHPs) at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, part of Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust.

The team includes physiotherapist and head of therapies Gina Sargeant, clinical specialist physiotherapist Julie Russell and occupational therapist Sandi Derham.

Ms Sargeant told Frontline: ‘We regularly receive requests from patients across the UK seeking access to a local programme, and from AHPs seeking advice on how best to provide this service.’

As a result, the team is developing a franchise model to address inequalities in service provision nationally.

‘The model will consist of delivery of a local training package, governance support to implement this and access to an established outcomes database,’ said Ms Sargeant.

Virtual fracture clinic


Virtual fracture clinic physio and extended scope practitioner Lucy Arnott at work

Meanwhile, the virtual fracture clinic (VFC) at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust triumphed in the Best Practice Adoption Challenge category of the 2015-16 awards.

Since its launch in 2013 the VFC has treated about 8,700 people and is estimated to have saved the trust more than £600,000.

The service has replaced face-to-face reviews with phone calls from physiotherapists, which are provided from 12 to 72 hours after a person attends A&E. Patients receive instructions about how to care for their injury and are provided with access to 27 self-management videos.

Over a two-year period the trust’s previous pathway for fracture patients cost £1.1 million, but the VFC from 2013 to 2015 cost less than half this amount.

The clinic’s innovation prize consists of a package of support, including

  • a dedicated mentor to coach and support the project
  • a clinical expert (or experts) aligned to the service’s clinical area of focus
  • access to a network of clinical experts in NHS England
  • a visit to the headquarters of global manufacturing company 3M in Minnesota, USA to meet with senior members of their research and development teams






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