at 3 Way Healthcare
Although 3 Way Healthcare is a private practice, we are also able to provide NHS treatments. We are one of the preferred providers of MSK ( Musculo Skeletal ) Physiotherapy for Brookside Group Practice, Parkside Practice and Woodley Surgery, and can also receive referrals from any other GP practices in the West Berkshire area.
Historically we have been able to provide a similar level of physiotherapy treatment to both Private and NHS patients. Regrettably, due to a change in the contract that we have with the NHS, from April 2021 the level of service that we can offer has been considerably diminished as part of a standardisation of treatment options across the whole of West Berkshire.
We really regret this and have tried to avoid these changes, but sadly there is nothing we can do to alter it. We will continue to provide our NHS patients with the best treatment possible within these constraints – please see the sections below for more detail on this and other options that are available.
As an NHS patient, you will need a referral from your GP in order to set up an appointment. The physiotherapist will thoroughly assess you during your first appointment and determine the most appropriate course of action, which may involve specific exercises or further physiotherapy treatments. The process is described in more detail below.
If you are referred for physiotherapy on the NHS, you have the choice of which approved physiotherapy practice you visit. It may be that you prefer to have your treatment at a practice more local to your work area for example. Your GP can let you know what your choices are.
Around 20% of all GP appointments are related to Musculo Skeletal problems, and many will benefit from Physiotherapy assessment or treatment.
The sections below detail how our NHS physiotherapy services operate, what you need to do and what you can expect from the process.
The table on the right summarises how our NHS services will change from 1st April 2021, and also what options are available privately.
We will be offering NHS patients the opportunity to extend their follow up appointments to 30 minutes at a small fee – this will allow us to provide similar treatment to our previous contract.
At your first appointment, your physiotherapist can explain the options available.
How do I get a Physiotherapy referral?
If you have a joint or muscle problem, make an appointment with your GP. For most problems, they will initially give you some advice and exercises, and if this does not resolve your problem will then refer you for physiotherapy treatment if they feel that it will help.
How do I make an appointment?
After your GP or hospital appointment, we will have received your referral and will contact you to make an appointment at our Headley Road clinic or our clinic at Brookside surgery.
Once we have received your referral, we will assess it to see if we consider if it is a routine or urgent problem. If we consider you need to be seen soon, we will contact you to arrange an appointment regardless of which practice you have been referred from.
What conditions are covered?
To see the range of conditions we cover, go to our Treatments and Healthcheck pages on our website.
Our NHS treatments are for MSK problems only, we do not treat Neurological conditions, Women’s Health (except for Ante and post-natal MSK problems) or carry out domiciliary visits on the NHS.
For children under 14 we can only accept a referral if we feel it is appropriate after a review.
Where will I have my treatment?
We carry out most of our treatments at our Woodley Practice at Headley Road, but also hold clinics at Brookside Practice.
At our Headley Road Clinic we can offer a wider choice of treatment times and days – at the GP surgery we have more limited availability.
How long will I wait for an appointment?
Generally our wait times for an initial assessment/treatment are no longer than 3 weeks from us receiving your referral, although this occasionally rises during holiday/busy periods.
After your initial assessment, any follow up treatments will be arranged in a time frame that your therapist feels appropriate for your problem.
Please note, the wait time is for your initial appointment only and if you feel you cannot wait that long, you can pay for an initial private appointment and be seen sooner – subsequent appointments would then be on the NHS.
If you have private medical insurance, you may prefer to use this for your treatment – this will allow you more choice of treatment times and more treatments.
What will happen during my treatment?
At your initial appointment, your physiotherapist will fully assess you, decide what your problem is, explain your condition to you and devise an appropriate treatment programme for you.
This may be a course of manual treatment, an exercise programme or joining one of our classes. Your treatment programme will be exactly tailored to your problem.
You may be asked to remove some items of clothing so that the physiotherapist can fully look at your problem, so we would ask that you dress in loose and appropriate clothing.
What sort of treatment can I expect?
From April 1st 2021, many of the treatments you may have been offered in the past will no longer be available.
The new NHS guidelines are that physiotherapy should not ne “hands on” but directed at exercise and self help therapies. As such, your treatment will now be principally an exercise programme specifically tailored to your condition and specialist group class sessions.
Many of our other treatments are now excluded or limited. We can no longer offer acupuncture on the NHS and are limited in the amount of manual therapy/soft tissue release/electrotherapy that we can offer.
How long will my NHS treatment session be?
NHS sessions are now 30 minutes for a first appointment and 20 minutes for a follow up treatment session.
Specialist group classes will be 50 minutes.
Can I have longer treatment sessions?
Yes – we will be offering a “top up” option to our NHS patients at a small cost, enabling follow up sessions to be extended to 30 minutes, which will allow us to provide treatments that are now excluded by the NHS where appropriate.
Your physiotherapist can explain this option at your first appointment.
How many treatments can I expect?
The number of treatments we can allocate on the NHS are limited – the demand is very high and as such the emphasis with NHS treatment is enabling you to treat yourself, so the exercise programme you will be given is the most important part of your treatment.
As such, your compliance is a vitally important part of the treatment, and if you do not do so, or fail to attend an appointment, you will be discharged back to your GP.
Any manual treatments we decide to give you will be aimed at increasing your range of movement or reducing your pain levels so that you can do your exercises better.
From April 1st 2021 you will only be allowed a maximum of 4 treatments, which may be a mix of 1 to 1 appointments or specialist classes, and could be carried our as virtual consultations as determined by your physiotherapist.
GPs have been advised that they cannot re-refer a patient for the same condition within a 6 month period.
Do I have a choice of which physiotherapist I see?
When you make an appointment, you will be allocated a physiotherapist at a time slot suitable for you, and as much as possible, we will ensure you see the same physiotherapist for the whole of your course of treatment. There are occasions where (For example, if you need a specialist treatment, or if your physiotherapist is away or ill), you may be transferred to another physiotherapist.
We have both female and male Physiotherapists, so if you have a preference, please tell the receptionist when you book your appointment.
What happens if I don't understand what I am being told?
As your compliance is a vitally important part of the treatment, it is important that you understand what the physiotherapist is explaining to you and that you do your exercises regularly and correctly.
If you do not understand, please raise any questions with your physiotherapist.
If you have a language problem, we do have physiotherapists fluent in other languages, so please ask to see one of those, or you may wish to bring an interpreter with you.
What happens if the treatment doesn't solve my problem?
At 3 Way Healthcare, we have had close links with all the local GP’s for over 20 years, so are able to communicate with them directly and quickly if we feel you are not responding to treatment and need further investigations to arrange this.
This might be after your first assessment or after a course of treatment, but any onward referral would be totally appropriate for your condition.