Physiotherapy Works: fitness for work
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Physiotherapy enables people to stay in or return to work.
Good work - that is, work within the capability of the person doing it - is linked to health.(1)
Work can bring both mental and physical health benefits, and so being
in work is a key determinant of health. Most people need to work and
socioeconomic success is also a factor in life expectancy.
The UK population is living longer and there is an associated rise in
the government pension age. As we age, most people will develop
long-term health conditions that they will need to manage whilst
working. The workplace now needs to support people so that their ability
to contribute is sustainable.(2)
Size of the task
- Sickness absence from work currently costs the UK £14.3 billion
- 40% of all UK sickness absence is due to work-related MSDs
- Working days lost due to work-related MSDs = 9.5 million
- Working days lost due to work-related stress = 9.9 million
The UK challenge: health, work and austerity
At a time when the NHS is serving a growing and ageing population,
the UK government estimates the need for £22 billion in NHS savings by
2020/21(3). Yet public expectation remains that access to
ever improving treatment should be available to all. So the drive to
reduce the welfare bill and to have people in
productive work remains a government priority.(4) There is clearly a pressing need for best value and productivity in healthcare.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), from short term back pain to
complex, long term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are the main
reason for people being off work. These conditions can also link to
mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, which are
associated with stress and are responsible for the most working days
lost in the UK. Psychosocial factors such as workplace culture can in
turn impact on the development of MSDs.(5)
Benefits of early referral to physiotherapy for work
- Economic savings to the UK
- Prevention of MSDs and work-related exacerbation of other conditions
- Clinical effectiveness in the treatment of MSDs and other conditions affecting workers
- High levels of staff satisfaction
- 'Healthy conversations' that support behaviour change
Early access to physiotherapy enables people to work
Physiotherapy can help. It is a regulated, clinically and economically cost-effective profession.
Physiotherapists are autonomous practitioners, with the skills to accept referrals directly.(6)
They assess, diagnose, advise and treat people in many clinical and
non-clinical settings, both inside and outside of the NHS. They are
experts in the prevention and treatment of MSDs and of other conditions
affecting people of working age, such as cancer, cardiac, respiratory
and neurological conditions.(8)
According to Macmillan, there are currently over 750,000 people of
working age living with cancer and it is predicted that there will be
17million people living with arthritis and 3 million with cancer by
Work advice from physiotherapists
All physiotherapists can give advice to help people to prevent
problems related to their work. They advise employees, enabling
conversations with line managers, and liaise with other health care
professionals, family and carers as needed. Where a problem or health
condition already exists they work with people to achieve optimal
function and mobility - with work an important treatment outcome.
Physiotherapists add further value in supporting the public’s overall
health. For instance, they can give specific advice about physical
activity levels based on an individual’s clinical physiotherapy
assessment. This can help people address concerns such as obesity,
leading them to better overall health and promoting self-management of
Within the workplace, physiotherapists specialising in occupational
health and ergonomics can provide targeted support in response to the
needs of staff and their roles, as well as the business needs of
employers.(10) They liaise with line managers and others to promote workplace health and minimise sickness absence.
The NHS itself, the UK’s largest employer, has a high rate of sickness absence due to MSDs, costing around £400m per year.(11)
Early access to physiotherapy is now included in government measures.
For instance, as part of the work generated by the Five Year Forward
View aimed at reducing sickness absence in NHS workers.(12)
41,000 working days saved
John Lewis partners (staff) reporting an injury
receive a triage call from Physio Med within four hours, and initial
assessment from a chartered physiotherapist within three days. 2,324
partners engaged with the service over 12 months. JLP estimates it saved
41,010 working days, saving £2,676,000
The Royal Free London NHS Trust provides a
physio-led health and work centre for staff with self-referral to
physiotherapy, workplace and ergonomic assessments and health and
wellbeing advice. 89% were recommended fit to stay or return to work;
data shows 93% improvement in spinal, upper and lower limb disorders.
Worst to best
NHS Lanarkshire put in place a ‘self-referral to
support’ service, including physiotherapy, from day one of sickness
absence. They moved from being the worst, to among the bestperforming
Health Boards in mainland Scotland.
Increased confidence for managers
79% of staff using the Physio Plus self-referral physiotherapy service at Sheffield NHS Hospitals Trust
report it prevented them having to take time off work. 69% of those off
work said it helped them return more quickly. Staff and managers said
it increased their confidence in dealing with sickness absence.
High return on investment
100 London Fire Brigade staff with chronic
musculoskeletal conditions followed a programme provided by Crystal
Palace Physio Group including work-specific exercises. There was an 85%
reduction in time off work, and £27 return on every £1 spent.
Powys physiotherapy service responded to data from the health and
wellbeing team demonstrating MSK conditions were in the top three
reasons for sickness absence at Powys Teaching Health Board. Staff now fast-track themselves into the service for assessment, self-help advice and management of their condition.
Referral to physiotherapy can help people to work. For those already in
work, physiotherapists can help to prevent sickness absence in the first
place, and facilitate sustainable return to work following sickness
absence. For those not working, physiotherapy can enable individuals to
take opportunities to work.
Early access to physiotherapy benefits
individuals, workplaces, small/medium/large businesses and the overall country's economy.
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Our Physio & Rehab Expertise
Specialist Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
Areas of specialization
- physiotherapy: back and neck (spine), sports, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle
- hand therapy: forearm, wrist, hand and fingers
- podiatrist: leg, calf, ankle, foot and toes
- read more on our specializations here
All our therapists are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCM). See our entire team here by location and specialization.
Initially, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover. They then provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
To call for inquiries or appointments, please contact us at:
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We appreciate you as a patient and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.
We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients.
When you have the opportunity, please take the time to tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our clinic.
Thank you so much, and stay healthy!
SPECIALIST REHAB APPOINTMENTS & ENQUIRIES
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We are a wholly Singapore Private Limited group of licensed physiotherapists, hand therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, clinical pilates practitioners and TCM physicians practicing in our scope of rehabilitation and its areas of specializations. As listed in our website are the list of services we provide our clients as referred by their medical doctors or by self referrals/word of mouth.
The range of rehabilitation results vary from patients to patients, depending on a variety of factors and reasons such as severity of condition, genetics, gender and age. However, we will still deliver the best evidence-based-practice of physiotherapy, hand therapy, TCM, sports training and deep tissue release therapy that we can deliver.
The information available on this site is for educational purposes only, if you need a full professional advise on physiotherapy, hand therapy and occupational therapy, please schedule an appointment with us by contacting our staff by Call/SMS/WhatsApp at xx, thanks!