Fire service cuts cost of physiotherapy

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service saved 23% on its physiotherapy spend in six months by replacing its face-to-face service with a dedicated advice line.

The service also reported a 68% reduction in staff who needed hands-on physiotherapy because employees were able to self-manage their condition.

The advice line, provided by Physio Med, uses a 10-day, five-step process. Employees are called by a chartered physiotherapist for an initial assessment within two working days of reporting a health condition to their employer. They are issued with a personalised, video-based exercise programme, physiotherapy advice, a self-management plan, and are advised on where to get further support.

Two days later, the employee will receive a follow-up call to check they are adhering to the plan. After 10 days, a physiotherapist assesses progress and either provides further advice to help the patient continue to self-manage, or refers them for hands-on treatment.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) recognised Physio Med with an award for promoting self management at its annual awards.

Helena Johnson, chair of council at the CSP, said: “Getting staff well and back to work quickly saves employers money, which is crucial in the current economic climate.

“Physio Med’s use of modern technology to encourage workers to manage their own health problems, like back pain, has been highly successful.”