Patient self-referral assessments and advice by physiotherapists for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions saves £19.30 per patient, or £2.08 for every £1 spent, according to Public Health England.
When any gains in quality adjusted life years are included, Public Health England estimates a return on investment of £47.32 for every £1 spent.
The figures were produced by a Public Health England commissioned tool, which is designed to calculate the return on investment of interventions that aim to prevent and treat MSK conditions.
It focuses on high-volume MSK conditions in working age adults and compares the cost effectiveness of a selected number of interventions.
The organisation’s aim is to enable clinical commissioning groups, local authorities and sustainability and transformation partnerships to assess the potential return on investment of MSK care.
Priya Dasoju, a professional adviser and public health lead at the CSP, said it would also be useful to physios to demonstrate to commissioners and service providers that their interventions are cost effective.
‘I think this is powerful tool and an acknowledgement that physiotherapists are a key part of the solution to MSK problems,’ she said.
Helping people back to work
The tool estimates that vocational advice from physiotherapists in primary care for all MSK conditions would return £11.14 in healthcare savings, quality of life year and productivity gains for every £1 spent.
The return from ESCAPE-pain, an exercise-based rehabilitation programme for joint pain, would be £5.20 in healthcare savings for every £1 spent.
And cognitive behavioural therapy including exercise for back pain, would see £7.52 in both healthcare savings and quality of life year gains returned for every £1 spent.
Duncan Selbie, Public Health England’s chief executive, said: ‘Bad backs and joints cause the most sick leave at work and using this resource will both help to get people back into work, reduce pressure on the NHS and boost the local economy.’
Public Health England says that low back and neck pain are the leading cause of morbidity in England. Their impact is three times bigger than the second place condition, skin diseases.
In 2014 to 2015, 9.5 million sick days were claimed because of MSK conditions, PHE found. This represents 40 per cent of all days lost due to work-related ill health and 33 per cent of long-term sickness absence in England is due to MSK conditions.
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