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The effectiveness of orthopaedic triage by extended scope physiotherapists

Paul Hattam (Extended Scope Physiotherapist working in primary care and private practice in Sheffield, UK)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Improving the management of the orthopaedic patient has long been a top priority in healthcare provision in the UK. For the past two decades, successive governments have funded a plethora of “waiting list initiatives” in order to reduce waiting times for both in and outpatients. In recent years, extended scope physiotherapists (ESPs) have become increasingly involved in making clinical management decisions for all orthopaedic patients – a process known as “triaging”. Their effectiveness in this triaging role remains largely untested despite having far reaching implications in terms of service delivery, professional recognition and patient satisfaction. The study is cross‐sectional in design using a survey to retrieve archival outcome data from hospital case notes of patients referred by ESPs for consultant management. The time‐framed sample yielded 170 subjects with a wide range of disorders distributed across all anatomical regions. The data was categorised so that effectiveness could be measured by judging the specificity and appropriateness of referral. Results and the possibility of developing the ESP role to include access to additional investigations and surgical listing are discussed.



Hattam, P. (2004), "The effectiveness of orthopaedic triage by extended scope physiotherapists", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 244-252.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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