TITLE

Improved access and targeting of musculoskeletal services in northwest Wales: targeted early access to musculoskeletal services (TEAMS) programme

AUTHOR(S)
Maddison, Peter; Jones, Jeremy; Breslin, Anne; Barton, Craig; Fleur, Joyce; Lewis, Rhian; McSweeney, Luke; Norgain, Carys; Smith, Sara; Thomas, Carolyn; Tillson, Chris
PUB. DATE
December 2004
SOURCE
BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);12/4/2004, Vol. 329 Issue 7478, p1325
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Problem The hospital based musculoskeletal service in northwest Wales was unable to cope with the demand for referrals from general practitioners. Waiting times were long, duplicate referrals to other departments were common, and general practitioners were reluctant to refer patients with common problems because of the perceived lack of service. Many referrals were made to the inappropriate specialty, especially orthopaedics. At least part of this problem was due to a lack of coordination between the four hospital departments providing musculoskeletal services and the emphasis on district general hospital based rather than community provision. Design Review over 18 months of impact of the targeted early access to musculoskeletal services (TEAMS) programme on accessibility to musculoskeletal services. Setting Northwest Wales. Key measures for improvement Number of patients referred and seen with musculoskeletal problems, waiting times, number of duplicate referrals, and surgery conversion rates in orthopaedic clinics. Strategies for change Establishing with central clinical triage a common pathway for all musculoskeletal referrals so that patients attend the appropriate department. A back pain pathway led by extended scope physiotherapists was developed, and general practitioners with special interests and extended scope physiotherapists were trained to provide services for patients with uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems in the community. Effects of change Over 18 months the number of referrals more than doubled. Despite this, waiting times for musculoskeletal services fell; this was noticeable for rheumatology and pain management. Duplicate referrals were abolished. Surgery conversion rates did not, however, change. Questionnaires from the clinics showed a high level of patient satisfaction. Lessons learnt Integration of hospital services that traditionally have worked in isolation can result in greatly improved access to musculoskeletal services. Community ... INSET: Key learning points.
ACCESSION #
15309683

 

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