Physiotherapists Can Reduce GP Workloads, Says Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists can play an active role in alleviating the workload burdens of GPs by providing fit notes on their behalf, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
The society’s comments came after a proposal concerning sickness leave was made by deputy head of the British Medical Association’s GP committee Richard Vaultrey at a BMA conference in Belfast.
He argued that increasing the period of sickness from five days to 14 people without a doctor’s note will alleviate the growing pressures on GPs that come with an ageing population.
In response to the proposal, CSP professional adviser Jenny Nissler argued that instead of extending sickness periods by nine days, a better solution would be to allow professionals such as physiotherapists to provide fit notes.
“Providing fit notes adds to GP workloads,” she said. “Other professionals, such as physiotherapists, have the skills to be able to do this.
“Trained to identify possible serious pathology in the same way as doctors, physiotherapists are physical activity specialists.
“They can support people in returning to work sustainably, or to avoid an absence in the first place – which is good for people, employers and the economy.
“By rolling out direct access to physiotherapy, for example in GP surgeries, and potentially optimising the use of fit notes, it is possible to keep people fit for work and ease the strain on general practice.”
The CSP’s modelling has previously displayed that up to 30 per cent of GP caseloads, arguing that many patients were missing out on the faster access to treatment through lack of access to physiotherapists.
They have calculated that providing direct access to physiotherapists in general practices would allow GPs to spend an extra five minutes.
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