Direct access offered for physiotherapy

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A new initiative giving people the opportunity to refer themselves for physiotherapy treatment without having to see a GP or other healthcare professional has begun in the South Eastern Area with self-referral through the scheme getting under way this week.

The Public Health Agency (PHA), Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and South Eastern Trust (SET) have launched a pilot programme of Direct Access Physiotherapy for patients over the age of 16 who have a musculoskeletal problem which affects muscles, joints, tendons or ligaments.

Michelle Tennyson, Assistant Director of Allied Health Professions (AHP) and Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) at the PHA, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer Direct Access Physiotherapy in the South Eastern Trust area. Self-referral is a significant step towards making physiotherapists more accessible to patients.

“Physiotherapists, along with other health professionals, are independent, first-contact practitioners who can respond immediately to the needs of patients and clients and are continuously looking for new ways of working that will improve patients’ experiences.”

Margaret Moorehead, Assistant Director AHP, South Eastern Trust said: “I am delighted that South Eastern Trust physiotherapy department has been selected as an early implementer of this service initiative which will enable clients to self-refer to physiotherapy services. We look forward to working with the PHA and HSCB to develop this service improvement.”

Patients with other problems such as respiratory conditions, neurological disorders such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, or severe back pain with associated bladder or bowel problems should continue to see their GP in the first instance.

The form for Direct Access Physiotherapy can be found at – http://www.setrust.hscni.net/services/physioform.htm