Message from Dr Greg Warner, Medical Lead and Michael Ord, Clinical Service Manager – Orthopaedic Choice
Orthopaedic Choice is fully functioning and receiving referrals for all body parts.
We have recommenced face to face appointments and joint injections along with remote consultations.
Our capacity for joint injections is still reduced and we would encourage GPs to do their usual injections in-house, in line with national recommendations and after an appropriate documented risk assessment https://www.rheumatology.org.uk/practice-quality/covid-19-guidance
Most of the independent provider hospitals are open for NHS orthopaedic cases. However, capacity for surgery is significantly reduced. (Wessex Nuffield and Sarum Road are not yet open to NHS referrals from the orthopaedic choice service)
Overall the capacity within the local system for elective orthopaedic surgery is significantly reduced. The modelling would suggest that wait times for joint replacement and other elective orthopaedic surgery will be greatly increased from pre-COVID levels. All of us dealing with MSK problems need to ensure we optimise the advice and symptom management with patients. This includes addressing lifestyle issues of weight and exercise and trying to ensure patients are doing their part to the best of their ability.
Ultrasound-guided injections: capacity is hugely reduced and injecting clinicians need to ensure they have tried landmark-placed injections whenever possible before referring with an expectation of ultrasound-guided injection.
MRI scans of knees: the local radiologists are concerned about the number of unnecessary MRI scans being requested by GPs. If you think your patient needs an MRI, please refer them to us instead. Please do not raise expectations by telling the patient we will do an MRI scan. Patients are coming to our clinics expecting that but not needing it and it puts our clinicians in a difficult position.
Ultrasound shoulder: most of those performed do not aid clinical decision making and usually cause unnecessary concern for patients. If you think a patient needs an ultrasound or MRI of their shoulder, please refer them to us instead.