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February/March 2020 (vol. 16/5)

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OH physiotherapy by telemedicine

A case study in an NHS Trust


Can telemedicine improve the delivery and effectiveness of an NHS occupational physiotherapy service? Joe Loftus and Francis Fatoye present the results of their small-scale study at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders among National Health Service (NHS) staff are a significant clinical and economic burden on the NHS. The disorders are responsible for one in five absence episodes1 and staff working while unable to carry out usual duties negatively affects productivity.

Occupational health (OH) physiotherapy is used to combat MSK issues in NHS workers. However, it is not always practical for staff absent from work, or in work but requiring assessment, to access face-to-face appointments at sites convenient to them or distant from their particular workplace. The recent NHS Workforce Health and Wellbeing Framework advocates removing such barriers2


Joe Loftus is a physiotherapist working in occupational health for the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. He is a member of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

Professor Francis Fatoye is a physiotherapist and health economist. He is professor of health economics and outcomes at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Author: Loftus J, Fatoye F


Occupational Health at Work February/March 2020 (vol. 16/5) pp31-33

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