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Physiotherapy Service adopts pioneering new back pain initiative


A NHS Warrington Physiotherapy Service is one of the first in the North West to adopt a new National Back Pain Pathway.

The Community Orthopaedic Clinical Assessment and Treatment Physiotherapy Service (OCATS) is based at Warrington Wolves and delivered by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It provides thorough clinical assessment of muscle, joint and nerve related problems, diagnosis and treatment.

The new national back pain pathway was adopted by the service a year ago and involves community physiotherapists from the service working more closely with Warrington GPs and hospital staff. In the past 12 months patients have seen benefits such as shorter waiting times to treatment, less frequent visits to GPs and a reduction in unnecessary investigations. The care is more consistent, effective and timely which has resulted in better outcomes for patients and reduced their risk of disability.

Dean Anthony, Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Specialist at Health Services at Wolves said: “Back pain is the largest cause of disability in the UK and accounts for approximately 11% of the total disability of the UK population. The new pathway will see back pain care standardised across the NHS and we are proud to be one of the first NHS services in the North West to introduce it.

“With the way the new back pain pathway is structured, all our clinicians are now able to apply the right care, at the right time in the right place. This enables patients to be assessed more quickly and, if required, we can easily organise referrals to other departments for further treatment.”

Initial feedback from patients has been positive.

Glen, aged 59 from Appleton said: “Very thorough and professional service. It’s great that the services are cohesive, making referrals to other areas of the pathway smooth and efficient.”

Andrew, aged 32, from Great Sankey commented: “A very thorough and helpful service”

Paul, aged 44, from Great Sankey described it as:  “A first class service!”

Find out more about the Orthopaedic Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (OCATS) in Warrington at www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/warrington/ocats/.

Further details of the pathway can be found at www.cmbackpainhelp.nhs.uk/


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