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Why this project

They identified that the psychological needs of people using their physiotherapy services were not identified early enough, and that there was a gap in physios confidence and training to discuss and support people’s mental health needs.

The work also enabled the Health Innovation Network (HiN) to build on existing relationships with pain services across South West London, in particular Kingston Hospital and St George’s Hospital.

By working with outpatient physio teams at Kingston Hospital and St George’s Hospital in Tooting, they explored the idea of embedding a training and mentoring package for physio’s so they could have conversations about mental health wellbeing with their patients. The benefit of working across the two clinical settings, meant they were able to work with a range of physios to explore how they could be best supported to have conversations on mental health, to help them appropriately signpost and refer patients to further supporting services if a need is identified.

Additionally, by strengthening the focus on emotional wellbeing, they could potentially create opportunities for patients to reflect on their wider health (beyond just physiotherapy) within a physio setting and to access psychological support earlier if needed.

Activity at the Q Lab and Mind September workshop in London

The work so far

During the scoping phase, the team held focus groups with the physiotherapy teams to understand how confident physios feel in discussing and supporting people’s mental health, and barriers they face. These insights were then used to develop the new training programme.

The team are currently working to embed training and support for MSK physiotherapists across both Kingston and St George’s Hospital. The training package will increase the physiotherapy team’s confidence in delivering psychologically informed physiotherapy to support patients with both persistent pain and mental health problems. By working across two sites, to understand what enables the training to be successful, the team hope to develop a training package that has the potential to be spread to other settings.

Connect with the team

Amy Semple