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4.3 Direct access therapists: Physio First, West Wakefield

Up to 4. Develop the team
June 15. 2016
Robert Varnam

Patients contacting the practice with a new musculoskeletal problem are offered an appointment directly with the physio, often on the same day, without needing to consult a GP.

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September 13. 2017

Additional information, from the webinar this evening - the West Wakefield practices employed Band 7 physios with experience of MSK work in the community. They all undertook additional training in MSK triage to help with this new way of working.


Also, it helped to train receptionists in active signposting, to give them the confidence in booking appointments correctly and ensuring the patients knew what to expect (ie expert assessment and advice re exercises, but not a course of more hands-on therapy - the physio booked them directly into that if required). Receptionists found physio one of the simplest services to signpost patients to.


Safety sounds very good - one adverse event in the first 3,000+ appointments - and that was someone who walked round the town, then to the GP and was booked with a physio for leg pain, and turned out to have been walking on a broken leg.

September 19. 2017

How many physios would you need for a typical network or federation? The practices in West Wakefield found they required 0.23 hours per week per 1,000 patients. Based on a rough approximation of 23 hours of clinical time per whole time equivalent, this translates to 1 WTE physio per 100,000 patients.

Note this is just for the first contact service, not ongoing community MSK therapy.

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