CCG musculoskeletal care revamp slashes waiting times

A CCG pilot to reform local musculoskeletal care has cut waiting times and could save the NHS millions of pounds if more widely adopted.

The scheme encouraged GPs to refer to community services rather than hospitals
The scheme encouraged GPs to refer to community services rather than hospitals

The scheme, led by Newcastle West CCG, to redirect muscular and joint problems to community services rather than hospitals helped the local NHS treat 62% more patients than two years before.

The CCG could make savings of £220,000 per year if the scheme was applied across its whole population.

A partnership in 2012 between the CCG, Connect Physical Health and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw all physiotherapy referrals routed via a referral management centre to triage patients to the most appropriate care.

Physiotherapy services were set up in GP surgeries to avoid the need for patients to attend hospital and specialists were made available within the community.

Referrals to neurosurgery fell by 44% and orthopaedics by 40%. Meanwhile, the number of patients seeing physiotherapists more than doubled, from 860 to 2,356.

A poll found 97% of GPs believed services had improved between 2010 and 2012.

Local GP Dr Guy Pilkington, the chair of Newcastle West CCG, said: ‘The pilot has been a great success - increasing the number of patients receiving treatment, improving the quality of care and saving the NHS money.

‘I would recommend that any hospital trust or CCG wanting to improve the service they provide in tough economic times should have a good look at the example of this pilot.’

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