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Innovation Grant for British School of Osteopathy

When finances and funding sit so firmly at the heart of the NHS it can sometimes seem as though every attempt to instil a culture of care is beset by financial restrictions.  Not that care and compassion should be affected by finances but it can be hard to provide a quality service when time and energy is spent in scratching around for cash.

It is therefore good to be able to report on the British School of Osteopathy which has recently been awarded a significant innovation grant.  Totalling just over £250,000 spread over a three year period the grant will enable the BSO to develop a new service called OsteoMAP.

According to the BSO website, “OsteoMAP is designed to support people with long-term musculoskeletal pain, which may be alleviated but is unlikely to be completely resolved by manual therapy alone.”  The programme will initially be developed at the BSO’s clinical centre and then rolled out via training courses to students and qualified osteopaths across the UK.

In recognising and developing multi-layered treatments which address the physical and psychological effects of certain conditions this programme should both reduce the burden on hospital services and help the health services to deliver the Government’s aim of a more patient focused treatment regime.

One of the side-effects of this programme is that community osteopaths are likely to become more involved in the treatment of long term conditions and this could add to the patient mix.  Those osteopaths who have switched to a more streamlined appointment, diary management and patient notes system may be in the best position to take advantage of this increased treatment requirement.

In effect, the more time which is freed up from administration the better.  With phone calls answered by a virtual receptionist the osteopath or other health professional can concentrate on providing distraction-free quality care to their patients.  And when it comes to a treatment such as osteopathy or physiotherapy, the less distraction the better.  Interrupted treatments can not only be less effective, the very fact of an interruption can cause anxiety in patients leading to muscle tension.

Grants such as that announced by the British School of Osteopathy can only help to drive forward quality care in our health service.  Targeted, patient-focused and aimed at providing long term therapies for lifelong conditions; treatment regimes such as OsteoMAP will reduce the day to day burden on hospitals and enable people to live a better quality of life.

Helping the nation to work

Speaking  in April 2012, Legal & General director John Pollock said that the Government could save £billions if they adopted a coherent long term sickness absence policy.  Mr Pollock believes that the current sick pay system “doesn’t deliver the right mixture of support for employer or employee and is not delivering value for the taxpayer in the long term.”

In part the comments reflect the conclusion of an earlier report from November 2011 which stated that early health intervention helped to reduce sickness absence with specialist expertise playing an important role in promoting a swift return to work.  This in turn helps both the country’s budget and the individual’s wellbeing.

Of course, any report about sickness absence is likely to be the catalyst for some debate.  On the one hand the Government is actively seeking to move claimants from long term sickness benefits and back in to work.  On the other comes a report from Opinium which said that 12% of those taking sick leave in the first two months of 2012 were not ill enough to justify taking the time off.   In the middle we have the health and safety debate centring on whether those with illnesses such as colds and mild flu should go into work and risk passing their illness on or stay at home to protect their workmates.

Key to the debate is the degree to which early intervention is possible.  Certainly when it comes to muscle and skeletal problems, in general the earlier the intervention the swifter the cure.  OK there is the prevention is better than cure argument and that has led in general in recent years to workplaces adopting more stringent health and safety procedures. But no matter how careful someone is, there are going to be times when our muscles or ligaments give up on us.  And when that happens, it’s can never be too soon to start on an appropriate course of treatment. Those visiting  physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths  may well be unable to work in the short term and the longer the injury goes untreated the more likely secondary problems may develop.

This requirement for speedy treatment places a logistical challenge on health professionals.  On the one hand they need to maintain a regular treatment schedule for existing patients whilst on the other hand time needs to be made available in order to start new treatments on those whose injuries have just occurred. The challenge for health professionals is therefore to maximise treatment times whilst making it easy for patients to contact and make appointments.

This is where a virtual receptionist service comes into its own.  Professionally trained receptionists can take calls, book appointments and answer simple patient queries leaving the health professional free to provide treatment. With appointment reminders sent to reduce “no shows” the use of a virtual receptionist service can help to ensure that the maximum number of patients are treated in the time available.  This helps to ensure early intervention and therefore speeds up the return to work.  Whilst we can’t do much about those taking a “sickie”, a virtual receptionist service can make the difference both for those who need to see a healthcare professional quickly and for the professionals themselves who wish to maximise their working time.

Contact us today to discover how Clinic Appointments can help your clinic. Book your free demo call now to learn more.