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  • Writer's pictureBBC

Sussex NHS physio team slashes their waiting list with one-day events

An NHS physio team slashed its waiting list by inviting people scheduled for treatment to two day-long events.

Sussex MSK (musculoskeletal) Partnership said of the 550 who attended the events, which were held at the leisure centre, 50% were discharged and 30% were directed to other services.

Patients had access to physiotherapy and wider health and well-being services.

They also received immediate spinal rehabilitation treatment if needed. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy wants the scheme rolled out nationally.

The community appointment days were held in April and May this year and another session was being held in Crawley on Monday.

Laura Finucane, clinical director of Sussex MSK Partnership, said: "We focused on conversations rather than consultations, to find out what was most important to everyone.

"This approach was particularly significant because our waiting list is full of people with complex conditions and multiple needs and the back or knee pain is often just a fraction of it."

Those who could not attend the events saw their waiting time reduced by an average of five weeks, and 10% of those discharged needed further support, she said.

'41-week waits'

Community musculoskeletal physiotherapy wait times had increased before the pandemic but were now at their highest ever because of a severe backlog and a physio workforce shortage, the NHS team said.

According to Sussex MSK Partnership, there are currently 318,521 people on MSK waiting lists in England with 67,738 people waiting in the South East - some patients have faced waiting times of 41 weeks.

Ashley James, director of practice and development at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "Waiting lists are at an all-time high so there has never been more of an urgent need to find innovative solutions to getting them down.

"Community-based solutions, such as that being put forward by the Sussex MSK Partnership, mean that people waiting to get the help and reassurance they need sooner."


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