New patient pathways improves diagnosis for spinal patients

New and innovative changes to pathways for spinal patients has helped to ensure that patients receive a more accurate diagnosis and reduces the amount of surgical intervention needed Mr Sion Lewis, a leading Orthopaedic Surgeon, told a conference.

The Extended Scope Practitioner role was developed by Mr Lewis within the NHS in the early 1990s. The new treatment pathway enables fully trained physiotherapists, rather than GPs, to complete the initial assessment on patients with spinal problems enabling patients to receive better and more accurate diagnosis at an early stage in their treatment.

Through developing the innovative scheme, Mr Lewis has not only trained physiotherapists to complete accurate assessments but also to administer epidurals to patients who may otherwise have been referred for unnecessary and invasive surgery.

Speaking at the Ramsay Health Care Spinal Symposium, Mr Lewis said: “The benefits for patients of the Extended Scope Practitioner pathway is they receive a quicker and more accurate diagnosis and the appropriate care for their condition is given with only 1 in 10 ending up needing surgery”.

Commenting on the Symposium Nick Birch, Spinal Surgeon at Woodland Hospital Kettering who chaired the Symposium and was talking about developing rapid recovery pathways for spinal patients said “Over the past 15 years, it has become apparent, across a broad spectrum of surgery, that shortened length of stays improve patient outcomes and reduce complications. The impetus for this has been driven both by patient factors and financial aspects of care. This symposium has provided the opportunity for colleagues in spinal care to meet and share their experience in the changing management of patient pathways.”

The event bought together over 60 leading spinal consultants across the healthcare sector to discuss Sharing Pathways for Spinal Patients. It is the first event of its kind for Ramsay Health Care and is part of its national spinal project.


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