• Jason Oswell

Would it be beneficial for ‘Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy’ to be renamed in the NHS?

The NHS is a great service, but as we all know, it suffers a huge amount of pressure with the ever increasing patient demand. Waiting times are long, which can cause injuries to become chronic and take longer to recover.

When patients turn up for their Physiotherapy appointment, there is a huge variety of what they expect from their physio. We've all heard people say ‘they assessed me then just gave me some exercises to do’, as if they were almost expecting to be immediately fixed by a magic pair of hands.

The reality however, is that exercise is the one way within the profession that is proven to make people 'better'. Physiotherapists are great at diagnosing and treating through exercise. All of the additional treatments, I believe, are royalties.

In my eyes, the profession is often misunderstood and I question whether in fact it would benefit from a complete re-branding, so to speak.

If a patient was going to see an ‘exercise rehabilitator’ or ‘exercise specialist’ or 'exercise therapist' then they would know exactly what experience they were in for. By carefully managing people's expectations, you could help to relieve pressure on the service.

Of course, if they really wanted hands on treatment, that is fine, but, this would likely lead them down the private healthcare route.

I am absolutely not saying that there is no place for hands on therapy in Physiotherapy. But I believe that in the vast majority of cases it is a luxury. Within the health service, we can get people better and improve quality of life, with fewer sessions, just by guiding with exercise.

I'm a firm believer that if we can change public perception of Physiotherapy it could have a hugely positive impact on the Musculoskeletal NHS service. It could even help with just general exercise health promotion too!

I'd be very interested to know if anybody has any different views on what, if anything, the profession could be renamed to?

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