Interview - new phoneline takes the strain

A new phone line service is being piloted by NHS Lothian for people in Lothian suffering from joint, muscle and back problems from today. (Monday, 1 October 2012).


The Musculoskeletal (MSK) Advice and Triage service (MATS), is a service run by NHS 24 for people with MSK problems. MSK problems affect joints, muscles and backs and are very common. They are also the biggest cause of work absence.  The service can direct people to appropriate self-management  resources over the phone or if required refer to local physiotherapy services.  The service aims to help sufferers of MSK problems recover quickly to minimise the impact on work and lifestyle.


Lynne Douglas, Director, Allied Health Professionals, NHS Lothian said:  “This phone line has the advantage of giving people who have muscle, joint or back aches and pains quick access to advice.   Normally most sprains and strains will settle down in about six weeks but we know quick and easy access to key information to help sufferers manage their problem is known to be effective, hastens recovery and keeps people in work. It can mean that people will not need to see a healthcare professional if they follow the best advice quickly.”


“People calling the phone line can also be directed to important information about how they can treat their individual injury such as should they be resting or still taking part in fitness activities and also which medication to take.”


Approximately 54,000 MSK referrals are made to NHS Lothian’s physiotherapy services each year.

The MSK Advice and Triage service operates from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and can be contacted on the national phone number: 0845 604 0001.

People can visit to access a wide range of information and advice. The website also includes exercise videos to help people get moving again, advice on medication, work and sports.


Alternatively, the information is also available on digital TV via Freesat and Virginmedia (‘Home’ button – ‘Interactive’).

For more information on the MSK service please e-mail

Interview with Wendy Johnson, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, NHS Lothian

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