New ways of accessing physiotherapy

There are now two new ways for patients to access physiotherapy. Read about them below.

Physiotherapy self-referral

First Community now accepts self-referral to musculoskeletal outpatient physiotherapy. This allows you to refer yourself to our outpatient physiotherapy services without having to see your GP first. You must be 18 years old or above, and registered with an East Surrey GP to self-refer.

Self-referral is suitable for patients with relatively simple conditions* such as joint pain, strains and sprains and back/neck pain. If you have more complex needs – for example, you have movement problems caused by a stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS) – you will still need a referral from a doctor. Self-referrals are also inappropriate for anyone who is currently being treated for cancer or experiencing the following symptoms:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • unexplained bladder or bowel problems
  • night pain that persists despite changing your position
  • fever or night sweats
  • unsteady on feet
  • numbness or tingling around back passage or genitals
  • pins & needles/numbness in both arms or in both legs

How to refer

Complete and return the self-referral form by email or by post. Click here to download the form. You can also pick-up a paper copy of the form from your GP surgery.

Once the form is complete please save or scan it as a document (not a photo/jpg) then email to, or post the paper copy to Oxted Therapies Unit, Barnetts Shaw, Oxted RH8 0NQ.

You should only refer yourself for one condition at a time. If you have multiple conditions then you can self-refer again after treatment for your first condition has ended.

What happens next?

Referrals will be assessed by our physiotherapy team who will ensure you are seen by the right service at the right time. If your self-referral is deemed unsuitable we will contact you to explain why and suggest a more appropriate route.

Self-referrals will be treated the same as referrals from GP’s and other sources so self-referring does not guarantee that you will receive physiotherapy treatment any sooner. Self-referrals will save you time as will not have to see your GP prior to being referred.

The physiotherapy appointments will be held at one of First Community’s outpatient clinic in Caterham, Oxted and East Surrey Hospital.

Click here for a poster about the service.

*This outpatient physiotherapy service is for MSK (musculoskeletal) physiotherapy which treats patients who have issues (both short and longer-term issues) that affect muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. It is suitable for people who are considering surgery.

Physiotherapy assessments at your GP surgery

First Community provide ‘First Contact Physiotherapists’ for an assessment at your GP surgery without needing to see your GP first. The scheme is for patients who are 18 years old or above. This service is currently available in all GP practices across east Surrey, with the exception of Pondtail Surgery.

You can book to see a physiotherapist by ringing your usual surgery number. Reception staff may ask a few questions to identify whether an appointment with the physiotherapist would be the best option for you.

Appointments will take place at your GP surgery and last approximately 20 minutes. The physiotherapist will assess your symptoms and discuss your treatment options. They may provide you with advice, refer you for a course of physiotherapy or refer you onto another service.

The scheme means that you are able to access expert advice quickly and from the comfort of your local GP surgery. It also helps to free up appointments for patients who need to see a GP. Feedback from patients where this scheme has already been trialled has been positive: “A specialised service which could ease the workload on GPs who are not able to be an expert in everything and will help patients.”[1]

Click here for a poster detailing the service.


First Community is an award-winning organisation which is part of the NHS family delivering community healthcare services in east Surrey and the surrounding area.

Alliance for Better Care is the federation of 44 GP practices in east Surrey, Crawley, and Horsham and Mid-Sussex. Visit for more information about Alliance for Better Care (ABC)