First Community trials two innovative referral routes into outpatient physiotherapy services

Published on 31/01/2019
First Community is trialling two new schemes to improve access to outpatient physiotherapy* services in east Surrey. Patients registered at selected GP surgeries in the area will be able to benefit from direct access to specialist outpatient physiotherapists. The work is commissioned by East Surrey CCG. First Community provides NHS community nursing and therapies, including physiotherapy. 
Self-referrals to outpatient physiotherapy 
Patients aged 16 years and above registered at Lingfield Surgery and Elizabeth House Medical Practice are now able to self-refer to First Community’s outpatient physiotherapy services. The physiotherapy appointments will be held at one of First Community’s outpatient clinic in Caterham, Oxted and East Surrey Hospital. Patients can download and complete a self-referral form from First Community’s website,  email it to or post it to Oxted Therapies Unit, Barnetts Shaw, Oxted RH8 0NQ.  Paper copies of the forms are also available from Lingfield and Elizabeth House surgeries. 
Specialist physiotherapist at GP surgeries 
In partnership with Alliance for Better Care and First Community, patients aged 18 years and above registered at Moat House Surgery in Merstham, Woodlands  Surgery in Earlswood and Lingfield Surgery, as well as Greystone House Surgery and Holmhurst Medical Centre both in Redhill,  are able to see a specialist physiotherapist for an assessment at their GP surgery without having to see their GP first. Patients can book an appointment by telephoning the usual surgery number.  The receptionist may ask questions to check an assessment with a physiotherapist is right for the patient. Appointments will last approximately 20 minutes. The physiotherapist will assess symptoms, provide advice and discuss treatment options, including onward referral.
This service will be availble from the end of January 2019 at Moat House Surgery, Greystone House Surgery and Holmhurst Medical Centre and the start of April 2019 at Lingfield Surgery and Woodlands Surgery. More information about both schemes, including eligibility criteria, can be found here.
Su Ryan Head of Therapies at First Community said: ‘Both routes into these physiotherapy services are suitable for people experiencing joint pain, strains and sprains and back/neck pain. Around 20% of GP appointments relate to these conditions. Ordinarily, when a patient wants to access physiotherapy services they must wait to see their GP, then once referred, wait again to see a physiotherapist. The new schemes will reduce the number of steps patients need to take to access physiotherapy, ensuring they receive the right care at the right time and freeing up appointments for those who need to see a GP.’
Both trials last for 12 months and, if successful, could be extended to other GP surgeries in east Surrey.
*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. 
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For more information contact: Jenny Rawlinson or Maddy Sciberras at First Community, 01737 775 462.
Notes for editors:
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. We offer a friendly face with highly rated, well-run services, delivered by our skilled people. We provide high-quality nursing and therapy services, children and family services as well as a rehabilitation ward and minor injury unit at Caterham Dene Hospital. First Community was rated overall Outstanding by CQC in 2017.
The NHS Long Term Plan can be accessed at:
Visit  for more information about First Community. 
Follow First Community on Twitter @1stchatter
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)