New Phone Line 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.

Dr Lesley Holdsworth, Associate Director of Allied Health Professionals at NHS 24, said: “MSK problems affect joints, muscles and backs and are very common. They are also the biggest cause of work absence.

“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 also reduces unnecessary use of NHS services. Not all callers to the service will need to see a healthcare professional but everyone will be directed to the self-management resources so they can immediately start doing the right things.

“The new service will also ensure that those who need to see a healthcare professional will be referred directly to their local service as well as having access to the right information and advice from day one.”

The phone line is not an appointment service. If people need a referral to their local physiotherapy service, their details will be sent electronically and they are contacted when an appointment is available.

The MSK Advice and Triage service operates from Monday to Friday, 2pm to 8pm, and can be contacted on the national phone number: 0845 604 0001.

A range of innovative resources have been developed to provide the most up to date advice and information and are available on the internet, via digital TV or through an app.

People can visit www.nhsinform.co.uk/msk 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 ahpmsk@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk.

ENDS


Audio interview avialable: Audio interview with Wendy Johnson
01/10/2012