Experienced physiotherapists as gatekeepers to hospital orthopaedic outpatient care

Leonie B Oldmeadow, Harvinda S Bedi, Hugh T Burch, Jenni S Smith, Edmund S Leahy and Miron Goldwasser
Med J Aust 2008; 188 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01638.x
Published online: 3 March 2008

In reply: The proportion of patients who, after being referred to specialist orthopaedic surgeons by general practitioners, are then listed for surgery, is around 20%–30%.1-3 In our trial, the diagnostic and management concordance between the physiotherapists and surgeon for this group was very high. It was also high for the 63% for whom evidence-based physiotherapy was appropriate. Management discordance occurred when surgical treatments that are controversial, and variously used by surgeons (as noted by Brand and colleagues), were recommended. It is important to note that the 74% agreement between the surgeon and physiotherapists in our trial was achieved under research conditions, with the physiotherapists screening independently. We suggest that the physiotherapist clinic be co-located with that of the surgeons, to facilitate further investigations, enhance the pathway to surgery and manage safety concerns.

  • Leonie B Oldmeadow1
  • Harvinda S Bedi1
  • Hugh T Burch2
  • Jenni S Smith2
  • Edmund S Leahy1
  • Miron Goldwasser1

  • 1 Northern Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Northern Health, Melbourne, VIC.



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