Primary care will need 6,000 more physios, say thinktanks

The NHS in England will need 6,000 more full-time equivalent physiotherapists to be working in general practice in a decade’s time, health experts predict.

In a joint report, the King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation say this increase must be accompanied by additional administrative and clinical support staff.

For the full potential of all these additional staff are to be realised, NHS organisations will need to invest in estate, careful pathway and service redesign and flexible employment models.

The report estimates that the 6,000 physiotherapists would absorb 10 per cent of future demand for GPs. This is equivalent to approximately one physiotherapist per 10,000 primary care patients.

The calculation assumes that half the musculoskeletal workload, some 20 per cent of demand on GPs, would be transferred to physiotherapists and that physiotherapists’ sessions would be twice as long as a GP appointment

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said: ‘We already know that there’s a huge amount of public support for these first contact physiotherapy services.

‘Our research shows that 73 per cent of patients would choose to see a physiotherapist instead of their GP for an MSK issue.

‘The pilots already running across the country show it is paying off, with exceptionally high patient-satisfaction levels.

“It's therefore great news that we have the funding in place for more of these roles, but in order to achieve true transformation we also need a national programme developed that will support this.’


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