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NHS Western Isles says it is delighted to announce the introduction of a new First Contact Physiotherapy Service, which was launched this week.

This means patients presenting to a GP practice with a Musculoskeletal (MSK) condition e.g.  soft tissue, muscle and joint pain, may be assessed by a highly skilled physiotherapist without seeing a GP first. 

This will improve the patient journey by accelerating their MSK assessment, treatment plan and if appropriate, referrals for further investigation.  

The service, which will be offered by telephone, virtually, or face-to-face depending on patient need, is run by physiotherapists Alana MacPhee based in Uist, and Eleanor Maule based in Stornoway.    The First Contact Physiotherapists will:    

  • assess you and diagnose what's happening
  • give expert advice on how best to manage your condition  
  • recommend exercises and other approaches to deal with the issue  
  • refer you on to a specialist service, if necessary.  

It should be noted that the First Contact Physiotherapy Service is not the same as the self-referral/direct access to the local Physiotherapy service. 

The current arrangements for self-referral to the local Physiotherapy service and standard NHS Physiotherapy service provision will remain the same.Anyone who wishes to be seen by the First Contact Physiotherapist should contact their GP practice to request an appointment in the first instance.

Practice staff may ask for further information to ensure that the service is right for you.

Patients who have already been referred to the local Physiotherapy service and are awaiting an appointment, or who are being seen by a physiotherapist, should not request an appointment with the First Contact Practitioner.

Photograph:  Alana MacPhee, First Contact Practitioner Physiotherapist (Uist & Barra)