About physiotherapists in general practice
Musculoskeletal (MSK) health issues such as back, muscle and joint pains are the most common cause of repeat GP appointments and account for around 1 in 5 of all GP appointments. Most of these issues can be dealt with effectively by a physiotherapist without any need to see a GP.
Research shows physiotherapists are the most expert professional group regarding musculoskeletal issues with the exception of orthopaedic consultants. They have the same high safety record as GPs and some are trained to administer steroid injections, order diagnostic tests including scans, and also prescribe medication.
What can physiotherapists help with?
- diagnosing and treating muscular and joint conditions
- advising on how to manage your condition
- referrals on to specialist services
How are GPs benefitting?
Physiotherapists help GPs to manage their workload more effectively through re-allocating appointments for patients with musculoskeletal problems and reducing the number of referrals into secondary care. This includes reduced demand on waiting times for orthopaedics, pain services, rheumatology, community physiotherapy and Clinical Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment services.
What are the benefits for patients?
- quicker access to expert MSK assessment, diagnosis, treatment and advice
- help to prevent short-term problems becoming long-term conditions
- improve the patient experience
- a shorter pathway means patients have fewer appointments to attend
- simpler logistics means patients are less likely to miss appointments, or to suffer administrative errors
- patients can gain lifestyle and physical activity advice from experts
- longer appointment times so patients feel listened to, cared for and reassured
How can patients book to see or access advice from a physiotherapist?
Patients with back and joint pain, including conditions such as arthritis can see a physiotherapist by speaking to the GP practice care navigators/reception team, or by being referred by their GP.