Physiotherapy waiting time spurs Brighton and Hove patients to go private

Posted On 10 Feb 2014 at 12:56 pm

The waiting time for physiotherapy on the NHS in Brighton and Hove is so long for some patients that they are paying for private treatment.

Research found that almost half of the patients taking part in a survey said that their waiting time was unsatisfactory.

Almost one in seven patients waited up to six months to be seen while a similar number said that the waiting time had made their condition worse.

The problems were highlighted in a report by Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, the local watchdog.

Healthwatch said: “Our recent report shows that the waiting time for physiotherapy treatment ranged widely.

“Typically people should have to wait between four to six weeks.

“Some of the 86 people we surveyed were seen within one week but 14 per cent of them waited up to six months.

“Fifteen per cent of people said that their wait was unsatisfactory and made their condition worse.

“Many people from this group decided to pay for private physiotherapy.

“This report also shows that only 63 per cent of people felt they received enough information about their treatment.

“Some people felt that providing booklets that show how to do the home exercises, or making existing booklets more widely available, would help them to understand why they were important.

“Patients who use the internet suggested that YouTube clips could be created for people to follow.

“The report found that many people were confused about what to expect from the service so did not know whether some parts of the service were good enough or not.

“Finally, the research identified positive experiences. For many people, NHS physiotherapy in the city seems to have been a good experience.

“There was much praise for physiotherapists themselves and for how organised the service was as a whole.

“Most people felt that their physiotherapist fully explained what to expect of the treatment (75 per cent), the benefits of the home exercises (90 per cent) and their physiotherapist made them feel involved when making decisions about treatment (74 per cent).

“Several people commented that the Seaside View Child Development Centre was particularly helpful.

“The recommendations in this report invited physiotherapy providers to comment on their waiting times and provide information on how patients are triaged and prioritised for treatment.”

The biggest local provider of physio treatment, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Unfortunately every month the number of referrals which we receive into our service continues to outstrip our capacity and exceeds our CCG contracted levels, hence our difficulty maintaining a six-week wait.

“We are constantly looking at new ways of working so that we can maintain a high quality of service but keep waiting times down to an acceptable level.”

Sussex Community NHS Trust said that it was a smaller provider and questioned whether the survey sample size could be considered truly representative.

For the full report, along with responses from the Sussex Community NHS Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, click here.

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