Patients to be seen closer to home as outreach service expands across county

Release Date: 22/03/2018

Patients to be seen closer to home as outreach service expands across county

People with musculoskeletal health problems will be able to access care closer to their homes thanks to a radical new service being launched by The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH).

The hospital has been running the Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service (SOOS) from its Oswestry base for almost two years, as well as running a handful of clinics in Shrewsbury and at Oswestry Health Centre.

But the service – which triages GP referrals and assesses what treatment is appropriate for patients – is going through a rapid expansion thanks to backing from Shropshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group.

It is expected to assess about 12,000 patients in the county per year – providing support for patients who would benefit from conservative treatments such as physiotherapy – whilst ensuring those who need surgical intervention get it.

The expansion gets under way this week with clinics starting at the Mayfair Community Centre in Church Stretton.

Plans are also being worked up to start running further clinics out of the community hospitals in Ludlow and Whitchurch in the next few weeks as well as establishing a hub in Shrewsbury. It is hoped to be able to offer clinics in Bridgnorth as well.

Dr Chris Tomlinson, Clinical Lead for SOOS, said: “We are thrilled to be able to announce these changes as it represents a significant improvement in the quality of the service we can offer our patients by being able to see them closer to home.

“We are now working much more closely with our Orthopaedic colleagues to develop care pathways throughout the county, which is extremely exciting for the team.”

Dr Shu Ho, Clinical Director of Medicine and Consultant Physician at RJAH, said: “These changes really demonstrate RJAH’s commitment to non-surgical musculoskeletal care, and will also mean our SOOS teams will be seeing more patients than ever before.

Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive, said: “This is a fantastic step forward for this Trust and its musculoskeletal services.

“These changes signal a new and exciting era for the Trust. Having always provided the vast majority of our services from a single site, we will now be seeing our patients in the community, offering ease to our patients as they won’t have to travel long distances to be seen.

“As it stands we are continuing with negotiations to be able to offer clinics at different sites elsewhere in the county in the near future. We will ensure our patients are kept updated on this.”

Dr Julie Davies, Director of Performance and Delivery at Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG),  said: “Shropshire CCG is delighted to be supporting the expansion of the SOOS service, to bring non-surgical musculoskeletal care closer to the homes of patients.

“These exciting and positive changes will benefit patients by widening access to the triage, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment service. Clear clinical patient pathways will be used consistently across the county to support GPs and patients in managing problems with muscles and joints, ensuring that patients are triaged to the most appropriate setting for their treatment.”

For more information about SOOS, visit the dedicated section of the Trust website here.

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