The NHS 'balmy' rulebook has expanded its attention to physiotherapists by banning physiotherapists from touching patients, despite it being a hands-on job role.
The revised guidebook, issued in a clinic in Rushcliffe, Notts, asks physiotherapists to recommend that patients look up treatments on the Internet and undertake relevant exercises at home instead of having physical treatment.
Physiotherapists use their hands to rub and manipulate aching joints and muscles, alongside advice on future exercises and method patients can do at home.
However, with these ‘hand-free physio’ rules are restricting the main aspect of a physiotherapists’ job and will drive people to go private – which many cannot afford, warns a physio expert.
“They seem to have invented a new form of physiotherapy that no one has heard of: do-not-touch physio¬therapy,” says chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), Phil Gray.
“Physiotherapists can’t touch you at all under this system. It is deeply unscientific. It is completely barmy, which means the only solution will be to go to the private sector and pay.”
However, the primary health care trust, Principia Rushcliffe that offers the hands-off treatment, ensures the new practice is the most effective.
“This service enables all patients to take control of their condition and get better quicker,” a spokesperson told the Express, adding that this new technique will be available for patients with general joint, neck or back complaints.
Patients with serious conditions would still receive normal physiotherapy.
This news comes after it was revealed that physiotherapists (and their patients) are suffering from financial cuts by the government.
Talking about how this leaves the therapist is an impossible position between treating the patient and meeting the financial means, Alex MacKenzie from the CSP said in a statement:
“Physiotherapists are between a rock and a hard place, where they are being forced to act against their professional clinical judgment because money for the right treatment is not there.
“More and more we’re hearing about rationing of services. In some cases, patients are having to see their GP twice, many weeks apart, before even getting a referral to a physio – and then they’re often only getting an assessment and exercise prescription, with limited hands-on treatment.
"The ability to offer the best professional care is being stripped away.”