New ‘first contact’ physiotherapist service launched in Oban

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership HSCP

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First Contact Physiotherapists are being gradually introduced in larger GP surgeries across Argyll and Bute as part of the national Primary Care Modernisation Project.

Patients can be directly appointed to the physiotherapist which ensures that patients get to see the right professional at the right time and frees up GPs to spend more time with patients in specific need of their expertise.

The service is aimed at over-16s who have joint and/or soft tissue issues.

The Physiotherapist will be able to:

Make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan

Refer for further investigations such as x-ray if required

Refer onwards to specialist services as necessary

The service is currently available at Lorn Medical Centre in Oban and Campbeltown Medical Practice.  People wishing to make an appointment can book via the GP reception at the above practices and should ask to see the First Contact Physiotherapist.

James Barrow, a First Contact Physiotherapist who is delivering the service at Lorn Medical Centre, said: ‘I am delighted to be able to deliver the first contact physiotherapy service in the local Oban area.  We are able to offer early access to specialist musculoskeletal assessment and treatment planning, and provide physiotherapy support at the initial point of access.

‘Appropriate investigations and imaging can be arranged if required following a comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment.  We can also arrange onward referral to physiotherapy and other specialities.

‘Although the service is new, the uptake and feedback has been very positive and encouraging.  Our patients are also pleased as they can access the right health professional at the right time.’

Where the service is being delivered the feedback from people using it has been very positive.  Some of the comments are included below: ‘The physiotherapist had a high level of professionalism and knowledge, which allowed me to feel confident with options discussed and future decisions. I would highly recommend this service before seeing your GP.’

‘Listened to and took appropriate action. I feel motivated to do the exercises with targets set.’

  • The First Contact Physiotherapist service is currently in the early stages of development and will be rolled out to larger practices within Argyll and Bute over the next 2-3 years.  A remote and rural model is also in development for smaller practices.