NHS Western Isles launches new service

Physiotherapist Alana MacPhee.

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A new first contact physiotherapy service has been launched in Barra by NHS Western Isles.

Patients presenting to a GP practice with a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition, like soft tissue, muscle and joint pain, can now be assessed by a highly-skilled physiotherapist without seeing a GP first.

It is hoped that the new service will improve the patient journey by accelerating their MSK assessment, treatment plan and, if appropriate, referrals for further investigation.

The service, which will be offered initially by telephone, is run by physiotherapist Alana MacPhee, who is based in Uist.

The first contact physiotherapist will:

•assess the patient and diagnose what’s happening
•give expert advice on how best to manage the condition
•recommend exercises and other approaches to deal with the issue
•refer patients on to a specialist service, if necessary

It should be noted that the first contact physiotherapy service is not the same as the self-referral/direct access to the physiotherapy service.

The current arrangements for self-referral to the physiotherapy service and standard NHS Physiotherapy service provision will remain the same.

Anyone living on Barra who thinks they may benefit from this service should contact Barra Medical Practice to request an appointment in the first instance.

Practice staff may ask for further information to ensure that the service is right for the patient.

Patients who have already been referred to the physiotherapy service and are awaiting an appointment, or who are being seen by a physiotherapist, should not request an appointment with the first contact practitioner.