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Physios drafted in to triage in Scotland’s struggling EDs

Move for physiotherapists to triage patients ‘rather than waiting for a nurse’ is part of £10 million government boost to ease pressure in emergency departments

Move for physiotherapists to triage patients ‘rather than waiting for a nurse’ is part of £10 million government boost to ease pressure in emergency departments

Physiotherapists are being drafted in to triage patients instead of nurses amid efforts to help Scotland’s struggling emergency departments (EDs).

The Scottish Government said the move would see physiotherapists and occupational therapists triaging patients presenting with chest infections, falls and musculoskeletal conditions ‘rather than waiting for a nurse’.

Patients told not to attend emergency department unless condition is life threatening

The plans are part of £10 million pledged by the government to help ease pressures in EDs. In

Move for physiotherapists to triage patients ‘rather than waiting for a nurse’ is part of £10 million government boost to ease pressure in emergency departments

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists have been drafted in to triage patients in emergency departments in Scotland
Physiotherapists and occupational therapists have been drafted in to triage patients in emergency departments in Scotland Picture: Alamy

Physiotherapists are being drafted in to triage patients instead of nurses amid efforts to help Scotland’s struggling emergency departments (EDs).

The Scottish Government said the move would see physiotherapists and occupational therapists triaging patients presenting with chest infections, falls and musculoskeletal conditions ‘rather than waiting for a nurse’.

Patients told not to attend emergency department unless condition is life threatening

The plans are part of £10 million pledged by the government to help ease pressures in EDs. In some areas, patients are being told not to attend unless their condition is life threatening.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘Placing physiotherapists and occupational therapists in A&E will stop unnecessary hospital admissions so that, for example, patients with musculoskeletal conditions, chest infections, or those who have suffered a fall, can receive the right care quickly and advice on exercises to support recovery at home and in the community.’

NHS Scotland figures show that 7,425 patients (30.4%) waited longer than four hours to be seen, admitted, transferred or discharged in the week ending 24 October.

£10 million comes on top of £300 million already pledged to help NHS cope over winter

It marks the first time compliance with the government target of patients being seen within four hours has ever fallen below 70%.

In October, military nurses and other personnel were called in to help plug staff shortages and tackle growing demand for services at health boards across Scotland.

The £10 million comes on top of the £300 million already pledged to help the NHS cope over the winter period.

It will be used to pay for extra staff on duty during peak public holidays, and will see social care workers and allied health professionals added to hospital rotas. There will also be extended opening hours for pharmacy and diagnostic services such as scanning and ultrasound departments.


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