A&E departments are calling for physiotherapists
22nd January 2015
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has suggested that by placing physiotherapists in A&E departments, both waiting times and admissions could be reduced, as well as saving money for the NHS. These specialised physiotherapists would then be able to carry out expert assessments, request tests such as X-rays, and also provide immediate treatment if necessary.
Relieving the pressures felt by A&E departments
Of the 18.3 million people who attended casualty in 2012-13, approximately one fifth were admitted with musculoskeletal conditions, which highlights the scale of both time and money that could be saved with the introduction of physiotherapists in A&E. It is thought that the benefits would also spread further than those with musculoskeletal conditions, providing even further support for additional patients admitted to casualty.
Those aged 65 and over have been revealed to be the fastest growing group of patients attending A&E, with many having accidents as a result of mobility difficulties. Patients admitted to emergency departments who use stairlifts at home, would benefit by being seen by a physiotherapist, as they would be able to manage attendees and relieve pressure on doctors. This may also mean that they are able to return home sooner and are not admitted to hospital unnecessarily, meaning long-term issues around out-of-hospital care are also avoided.
It may also be that the physiotherapists are trained to be qualified in administering injections and providing prescriptions, freeing up staff in the department for more complex cases, and cutting lengthy waiting times for patients. This process has already been introduced by the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, who have since found that costs per patient have been cut by £32, which is a significant 60 per cent reduction. It has also been proven that where physiotherapists are already working, a real difference has been made on waiting times and the quality of care received by patients
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