Patients with back, leg and hip pain are being helped to better health with quick access to expert physiotherapists.
People experiencing musculoskeletal problems in Merthyr Tydfil can ask to see a physio without the need to visit their GP first. Same-day appointments are often available, with patients then signposted to further help and support or given advice on how to manage the condition themselves.
The scheme started as a pilot in Cwm Taf in 2017, with feedback from GPs being so positive that it was rolled out across the health board. The physios are part of a wider team of health professionals working to ease pressure on GP waiting times and to ensure that patients get the most appropriate care as soon as possible.
Physio Ben Searle, who works in a number of health practices in Merthyr, said: “We assess joint and muscle problems such as pain in the back, shoulders, hips and knees. Patients have quick access to a service, usually within a day or two, without the need for a GP appointment first.
“It’s a short appointment, usually of around 20 minutes, in which we give advice, such as how to lose weight or about taking exercise. It’s a triage system, so we refer patients on to other professionals such as clinical specialists in the musculoskeletal team or to their GP if appropriate.
“One of the most common problems we see is lower back pain, which affects people of all ages. The earlier a patient can be seen, the better.”
The physios are among a range of healthcare professionals that patients may see in their local community instead of seeing a doctor, including GP support officers, physician associates, pharmacists and opticians. To find out more, speak to staff at your GP surgery and follow #YourLocalTeam news on social media.