About us

Innovative service will speed up appointments

02 October 2015

Health Care

The physiotherapy team at Southend have launched an innovative new service that will speed up patient appointments for musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

PhysioDirect is a telephone service, manned by senior physiotherapists, which patients can ring on the guidance of their GP. The physiotherapist will provide an initial assessment over the phone to decide whether the patient needs to come in for a face to face appointment.

The service will provide advice and exercises for patients that don't need to be seen straight away, and then asks the patient to call back on an agreed date if their symptoms haven't improved.

If the patient calls back they will be given an appointment within a couple of weeks.

Lauren Jones, senior physiotherapist, said: "The introduction of this service is to improve the patients' experience. At the moment, any patient referred to us by their GP can be waiting up to 12 weeks for a new patient appointment. By that time, their symptoms may worsen meaning they have waited a long time in pain and discomfort when they could have been doing some simple exercises to help their symptoms.

Sometimes a patient's symptoms significantly improve or resolve in this time and they often don't attend their appointment and don't cancel it either resulting in wasted appointments which could have been used to help another patient."

The new service ensures that physiotherapy appointments are allocated based on clinical need and provides early access for patients that need a face to face consultation.

It also means that all patients will have access to physiotherapy advice more quickly. Stephanie Carey, senior physiotherapist, said: "PhysioDirect means that patients will be able to access physiotherapy advice immediately instead of waiting up to 12 weeks. We will be able to identify and see patients that need to come in and see us much more quickly, and patients that don't need to come in will benefit from advice on their symptoms, and exercises that will improve their condition. We're really hoping that the service will significantly reduce the number of lost appointments we have at the moment, and thus speed things up for patients."

Image: Stephanie Carey and Lauren Jones