Monthly Archives: July 2013

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Postcode lottery in Neurophysiotherapy in Wales is focus of Assembly report

Postcode lottery in Neurophysiotherapy in Wales is focus of Assembly report

The Assembly Cross Party Group for Neurological Conditions, an all party group of Assembly Members chaired by North Wales AM, Mark Isherwood has recently undertaken a review of Neurophysiotherapy services in Wales. The inquiry found that although there is evidence of good practice within physiotherapy services, availability of specialist Neurophysiotherapy services across Wales is inconsistent. Taking evidence from people who have neurological conditions, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Local Health Boards, the report suggests that the Welsh Government should establish a working group to take forward 12 key recommendations. Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group for Neurological Conditions, Mark Isherwood AM said, “This report makes serious and well informed recommendations which I now hope will be given full and proper consideration by both the Welsh Government and our Health Boards”. Helen (who has Parkinson’s) contributed to the report expressed that people with Neurological conditions need access to specialist physio as soon as possible after diagnoses but felt that some services miss this, she calls for “more physios with specific neurological experience and knowledge”. The inquiry concluded that over 100,000 people are living with a neurological condition in Wales and most could benefit from physiotherapy or from self managed exercise classes with the right support. There are networks of talented physiotherapists across Wales, who with the right training, support from specialists, and by working through multidisciplinary teams, could make a positive impact to the lives of people living with neurological conditions. Philippa Ford, Policy Officer for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in Wales said, “The recommendations will provide a focus for the Health Boards to examine current services and address some of the challenges. The setting up of a working group (if Welsh Government agrees to this suggestion) will provide an opportunity for physiotherapy services to learn from each other and share innovative practice." Joseph Carter is the Chair for the Wales Neurological Alliance, the umbrella organisation representing over 30 charities including Parkinson’s UK, Shine Cymru and MS Society Cymru, added, “Physiotherapy can make a real difference to people living with neurological conditions, but there are still barriers in accessing it. We are calling on the Welsh Government to consider our report and deliver the services that our service users need.The full recommendations are as follows:
  1. Local Health Boards expand self-referral so that anyone with a neurological condition who would benefit from physiotherapy can self-refer to local physiotherapy services
  2. Local Health Boards establish regular neurological multi-disciplinary teams so that service users can access physiotherapy and other support. These teams must have access to appropriate rehabilitation facilities including the ability to refer to inpatient.
  3. An expansion in the number of clinical specialist neuro-physiotherapy roles so that every Local Health Board (LHB) has a specialist neuro-physiotherapist for ABI, MS, Parkinson’s disease, neuro muscular disease (NMD), spinal cord injury, stroke and specialist neuro-physiotherapists to provide support for rarer conditions such as spina bifida or Huntingdon’s disease
  4. We recommend that Local Health Boards Organise specific neurological skills rehabilitation courses for generic physiotherapists in order to improve skills within the community and within hospitals
  5. Local Health Boards review access to all training across professions in order to maximise appropriate professional skills development within limited training budgets
  6. The Health and Social Care Committee considers whether the All Wales Medicines Strategies Group should appraise equipment and technology and question whether they are cost effective as part of the upcoming inquiry on access to medical technologies in Wales
  7. Local Health Boards evaluate and standardise the use of specialist equipment for patients with complex needs so a common level of service can be expected when patients transfer closer to home, or to their own home, for continued rehabilitation
  8. The Welsh Government considers commissioning a review of hydrotherapy provision across Wales to ensure those people with neurological conditions who might benefit from hydrotherapy are able to access it, both as in-patients and out-patients
  9. The Welsh Government continues to work with Local Health Boards to fund an expansion of telemedicine and telecare technology across Wales.
  10. Heads of Therapies promote the use of validated outcome measures so that physiotherapy for people living with neurological conditions is provided for the appropriate length of time that is commensurate to their needs.
  11. The National Exercise Referral Scheme be expanded into all neurological conditions to support individuals to self-manage their condition
  12. Local Health Boards review their specialist physiotherapy facilities to determine appropriate access for community use
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