A pilot GP-based physiotherapy service in Machynlleth, Powys, has been honoured for innovation in this year’s NHS Wales awards.
The award winning Machynlleth team
The service was part of a trial to support and develop new ways to sustain a safe, effective and quality primary care service.
In 2015 the Machynlleth medical practice surrendered its independent contractor status because of difficulties in recruiting and retaining GPs.
It was taken over by the local Powys Teaching Health Board, which had to act fast to maintain services and halt a decline in patient registration.
Immediately the board looked for ways to create a new and flexible workforce, to help develop new and innovative clinical models.
These included setting up an external clinical triage service, an in-practice advanced physiotherapist, an advanced nurse practitioner and a pharmacist.
According to NHS Wales, the combined initiatives diverted 48 per cent of patient demand away from GPs to other health professionals, including one part-time physio.
It said that 72 per cent of patients had rated the new services as ‘very good’, with a further 22 per cent rating it as ‘fairly good’.
Claire Preece, head of physiotherapy for Powys, said the physiotherapy model piloted in Machynlleth had been adopted at a practice in Newtown and the health board was considering wider implementation.
Commenting on the pilot, she said: ‘It was about developing the best model, regardless of the GP practice.
‘And it highlighted that if we have physiotherapists working in GP practices, they need extended skills.’
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